Less than 3 years left to 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Namibian athletes are still waiting for the High Performance Centre (HPC) which should have been completed in December last year.
National Sports Plan, Chairperson Ndeulipula Hamutumwa who announced the plans for the establishment of the centre – at the time - is now backtracking on his word regarding the timely completion of the centre.
Early last year, Hamutumwa told The Villager Sport that the HPC was going to be in full operation by December that year, but the construction of the centre has not even begun, with time running out before the start of the games.
“It is difficult (for me) to tell you more on the project. We are going to have a workshop in October that will have more details regarding the establishment of the centre,” Hamutumwa said. He denied having commented in the media on the previously reported timelines.
“I cannot really recall saying that in the media, unless I was misquoted,” said Hamutumwa.
He maintained that the centre, which will be based in Windhoek once constructed, will see the country returning to its glory years of Frankie Fredericks, who won medals at major international events such as at the Olympics and other world championships.
Fredericks won four silver medals at the Olympic Games, winning two silvers in the 100m and 200m at Barcelona 1992 and two silvers also in the 100m and 200m at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Fredericks also won numerous medals at world championships including, gold in the 200m at Stuttgart in 1993, Silver in the 200m in 1991 in Tokyo, Silver in the 200m in 1995 in Sweden and Silver in Athens in the 200m in 1997.
Johanna Benson remains the country’s only athlete to date to win a gold medal at any Olympic Games event, after claiming gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London in the 200m T37 heat.
“This can only happen if we have such centres in the country. The world had changed now because the years of Fredericks are gone and it is time to focus on the future. Let us all harmonise this effort in order to speak one language. That is why countries like Kenya have invested in long distance athletes because they have identified it as their area of success,” said Hamutumwa.
Meanwhile, five Namibian sprinters are currently in Jamaica as part of a long term training programme with aim of improving the country’s chances of winning medals at the 2016 Rio Games.
The programme forms part of the Vision 2016, implemented several years ago by the Ministry of Sport in order for the athletes to compete at major international events.
The athletes are, Hitjiverue Kaanjuka and Globine Mayova, female hurdles champion Lelanie Klaasman, 400m female champion Tjipekapora Herunga and male sprinter Dantago Gurirab.
The five athletes are nowhere to be seen at major international events such as at the current ongoing International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) athletics golden leagues and they were also absent at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland which raises some eye brows regarding the programme.
Mapping out direction
Hamutumwa also said that the newly commencing National Sports Plan (NSP) that was launched last week will map out the strategic direction sport development for the next decade.
The NSP is a culmination of recommendations set forth by participants at the National Sports Conference which was held in April this year.
Hamutumwa added that the centre will also benefit other sport codes such as football, rugby and cricket.
He further told The Villager that the NSC has identified five key focus areas that will drive the NSP and operate as vehicles that will streamline sport at all levels and enhance performance through well-structured programmes and funding models.
The five key areas are: Society, Sport for All and Economy; Training Development and Infrastructure; Structure, Policy and Processes; Marketing and Funding; Athletes and Talent.
According to Hamutumwa the pertinent questions that Namibians should ask themselves is; “Why can’t Namibia win the African Cup of Nation (AFCON) and why can’t Namibian swimmers win medals at the world championships.”