Athletics Namibia has been surviving on N$3000 from the Namibia Sport Commission annually while the president, Alna Similo is using her own money to execute the federation’s duties since succeeding former AN president Frankie Fredericks last year.
Such is the state of affairs at the sport that today is perhaps the most successful judging from past exploits on the international stage.
“I am using my own pocket money to travel to regions or town just for the love of the sport. I decided to use my own resources because the association is only willing to give me N$100 or N$ 200 as transport money. My husband is the one that decide me to use our own car because he felt that it was better to do so than using public transport to carry out my duties,” she told The Villager Sport.
Similo also said, “They asked me to use my money and they refund me which they didn’t. Sometimes I used to travel with Fredericks in his car to go out on duties with athletics and there is no secret about the situation,” she said.
A rather resilient Similoadded that, “I am still the president because I have the passion for the sport. If someone tells me to resign, I will because I am not benefiting anything from AN. I don’t even get any allowance what so ever”.
“We have been receiving N$3 000 from NSC for administrations purposes until this year when we received N$50 000, which is better than nothing but still it is not enough,” she said.
Similo argues the poor funding will trim down the country’s chances of winning medals at major events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
In the past Fredericks managed to bring 20 medals to Namibia between 1992 to 2002, winning 10 Gold, 14 Silvers and four Bronze medals.
However the poor state of affairs have turned the sport into a shadow of its former self.
Similo also added that the sport has failed to participate at the IAAF Golden League because it has not been sending enough athletes for qualifiers.
She added that, “ I am not saying we are not good enough but it is the challenges of sponsorship and I hope someone somewhere will come and knock on our door and say here is N$ 500 000 investment into athletics.
“The is an athlete by the name Jesse and he is the one that everyone should look out for if given proper training, coach and sponsorships”.
The sport is also struggling to attract qualified coaches.
“ We do not have qualified coaches in the country at the moment and it is a challenge we have. Athletes are working very hard and we should complement them for that because they use their own resources which should not be the case. Namibians always like to concentrate on negative rather than positive,” She said.
Similo said the federation is struggling to reach out in rural areas where she feels that identification of talents lies.
“Bank Windhoek can be a dictator in this regard and why not if they are the sponsors because that is what they want, which is fair for them.
“It is very difficult to identify talent in remote areas because resources are very scares because the deal does not include development.
“There is talent everywhere even in this deep areas but again it is all about money,” said Similo.
Similo also said that she will cross her fingers so that one day, MTC will come to the rescue of the federation.