I believe a country’s population size does not play any role in sports as far as winning medals is concerned.
My point focuses on Namibia’s failure to win international medals in particular at athletics championships, such as the recent World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia.
Only Tjipekapora Herunga reached the semi-finals at the event in the 400 metres race while the rest were all disappointing.
But the question is; why are we not winning medals at major international championships?
Some people talk of population issues while others go on about financial constrains and training facilities as the challenges in comparison to other countries. I personally do not think it has to do with any of the afore-mentioned issues.
Jamaica, a country with just a small population as ours, with 2.7 million people, has arguably the best three athletes ever in the world. It has the fastest man ever, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell (who has since tested positive for a banned stimulant).
My thought is, if one is born with a natural talent, they must be capable of winning medals with or without sufficient investments.
Johanna Benson did not need millions to win her gold and silver medals at the Paralympics last year but because of her talent, she became the first female athlete to bring a gold medal home.
Frank Fredericks did, however, have financial back-up from Rössing Uranium but not in millions compared to South Africa, which spends over N$300m on athletes to take part in various championships, such as the indoor, golden leagues, world championships and the Olympic Games.
Even if, for example, Government decided to invest N$1b in the 2016 Olympics Games, it would not guarantee medals because talent is not made but is inborn.
Fredericks won four silver medals at the Olympics and several other medals at world championships against the best athletes at the time but nobody mentioned anything about investments into athletics since people, at the time, were just excited about his achievements.
Namibia’s time will come when a new Frankie will be born again; hopefully in 2030 when it also reaches its target as an industrialised country.
Please, these are only my thoughts.