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Funds hamper Games preparations

Mon, 24 March 2014 04:12
by Michael Uugwanga

Government is still to provide funding towards the country’s participation at the Commonwealth Games slated for 23rd of July to the 3rd of August in Glasgow, Scotland, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) has revealed.
“We are still waiting for money from Government, which would do us good if released in advance, to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We have a tendency of preparing ourselves for such events only a month before them, which should not be the case,” NSC chief administrator, Shivute Katamba told The Villager Sports in an exclusive interview this week, adding, so far, only seven participating athletes have submitted their names to the organisation.
“Beata Naigambo, Helalia Johanness, Nangula Ekandjo and Alina Armas (all marathon runners), Tjipe Herunga (400m sprinter), Vera Alberts and Dan Craven (Cycling), Bowling and Paralympic sport are the names that I have so far. Others are hopefully still coming because the qualifications are still ongoing. South Africa-based Costa Seibeb is also expected to qualify for the Games,” said Katamba.
He, however, admitted little has been done to create awareness ahead of the global sporting event.
“We are not doing justice to the athletes, yet expect them to bring home medals. Athletes like Johannes and Naigambo should be given enough resources for their preparations. Athletes are being exploited and we can no longer hide from this,” Katamba said, calling for the sports portfolio to be separated from the existing Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, if Namibia is to return to its glory days when Frankie Fredericks held the national flag high at such events.
In the 1994 Commonwealth Games, Fredericks won a bronze medal in the 100m and gold in the 200m, within record time of 19.97 seconds. His Games record still stands.
Boxer, Japhet Utoni also won a gold medal at the 2006 edition of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. “Sports Minister Jerry Ekandjo once said sports need to be a ministry on its own, so that enough resources are made available to cater for all codes. Currently, the line ministry has four sectors and this does not help, as they all require lots of funding. Countries like the United States invest lots of money in industries such as film and music. That is why they do good. This should apply in this country; a well-performing sport code should be identified then invested in,” Katamba said.
He added; “Herunga is already eyeing the 2016 Olympics Games and that is what we need. We should not always wait until the last minute to get things done and then in the end expect to outperform those who have been preparing for months.”
A total of 17 sport codes and approximately 7 500 athletes are expected to take part at this year’s edition of the Games.