WINDHOEK: There is a need to holistically review and contextualise the performance of the Namibian Olympic Team that took part in the 2012 Olympic Games in London from an investment point of view.
President of the Namibian National Olympic Committee (NNOC) and Member of Parliament (MP) Agnes Tjongarero said this when she addressed the National Assembly here Tuesday on the subject “Sport: A strategic vehicle for economic Development. A Sector worth investing in”.
“My statement comes at the time when our athletes recently participated at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. It was evident from the results that our Olympic team did not perform well,” she said.
Tjongarero said Government has made positive contributions to the development of sports since independence, of which some have enabled the country to make an impressive entry into the international sporting arena.
“Since independence, the country managed to win four silver medals in the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics by Frankie Fredericks, but sadly that seems to have been the beginning and the end of Namibia’s ascendancy onto the Olympic medallist podium,” said Tjongarero.
Namibia has, however, managed to participate at various international competitions such as the All Africa Games and the Commonwealth Games and obtained satisfactory results.
Tjongarero said the target set for Vision 2030 to win at least four gold medals in international competitions yearly in the sport codes of boxing, cycling, swimming, marathons as well as medals in other codes from 2004 is attainable.
She informed the house that with increased investment, Namibia could bring back more gold medals.
“For us to win medals every time we compete at regional, continental, international, commonwealth and at Olympic Games, we need to have a national sports development and reward system policy in place,” the NNOC president stated.
She noted that the vision for sports development is talent identification; realisation of dreams; export of sporting talent; and development and qualification of managers, coaches, officials, umpires, sports medics and administrators.
However, she pointed out that the major challenge why the country does not perform well and win medals outside the borders is because of a lack of managers, coaches, officials, umpires, sports medics and administrators, as most of these people are expatriates.
“Annually, we see around 10 000 to 20 000 young people not making it in Grades 10 and 12. We can start to train these youngsters to become sportsmen and women,” Tjongarero suggested.
She indicated that recently published Government statistics indicate that unemployment has reached a staggering rate of 51.2 per cent, whilst youth unemployment stands at 60 per cent.
“Living in a society where unemployment is so high, sports can become one of the strategies towards the creation and sustainability of job creation,” she added.
Tjongarero also took the opportunity to congratulate Johanna Benson for winning gold and silver medals at the Paralympic Games, adding that her international achievement has placed Namibia on the global map. “She is indeed a national heroine,” the MP said.