By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIAN athletes should use available opportunities to prove that they are just as competitive as any other sporting nation, irrespective of the sport in which they partipate.
So said Namibia Karate Union (NAKU) president, Cornelius D’Alton, as he highlighted the achievements of his code during this year.
He was speaking on the back of karateka De Wet Moolman winning four medals at the JSKA World Championship as well as being crowned Sportsman of the Year at the Namibia Sports Commission annual awards ceremony.
D’Alton said Moolman’s achievements have proven that nothing is impossible. He added that the many more Namibians now know about karate because of Moolman’s feat.
“Over the past few years NAKU has been blessed with athletes and officials winning categories at the annual sport awards which is a huge boost for karate indicating that our plans are coming to fruition and delivering the results we were looking for,” stressed D’Alton.
“We must at the same time extend a huge word of appreciation to the sponsors that make events such as the annual sport awards possible and also the team at the Namibia Sports Commission who operate behind the scenes to ensure the event takes place annually in trying financial times,” said the president.
D’ Alton said karate has ‘most certainly grown’ in leaps and bounds since Namibia’s independence, adding that prior to 1990, Namibia was renowned for her prowess in karate.
“We pride ourselves in that NAKU has a very representative base of athletes with clubs in most regions and good representation of all ethnic groups in our National teams,” he emphasised.
However, as with many other codes, the biggest challenges faced by karate this year was about funding. He said the code was self-reliant and financed most of its programmes. Funding challenges have also prevented the karate union from hosting the African Karate Championships.
“From this perspective, we must express huge appreciation to our supporters being the guardians and parents of athletes, and athletes themselves who invest so much of their time and money and allowing their children to participate and represent the country at different levels,” stressed D’ Alton.
“We are putting our heads together to understand how best we can provide our athletes with a platform from which they can participate continentally and internationally to ensure some of our athletes are in a position to qualify for the next (2020) Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.”
“Under the guidance of our national coach, NAKU has embarked on a journey where becoming a national athlete is now a lot more demanding as we have seen that our neighbouring countries have professional and semi-professional athletes against which our athletes are competing. With the help of programmes such as the Podium Performance Programme from the African Union Sports Council, which is managed by the NSC, we hope to take Namibian karate to new highs,” stressed D’Alton.
With regard to development of karate, he said it was extremely important for the sport to grow and therefore training of young karatekas is already taking place in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.
He, however, stated that some challenges stand in the way of expansion.
For karate to grow, D’Alton said, huge investments are needed in the training of instructors who need to be afforded the opportunity to open clubs in different areas of the country.
Asked to rate Namibian karate, D’ Alton placed the country third after South Africa and Botswana in Region 5 (southern African sporting nations).
“The reasons why these countries (SA and Botswana) are performing better is due to better financial support which allows the athletes from these countries to participate more regularly at continental and international events,” he noted.
“These are key areas where valuable experience is gained and because Namibia does not yet compete at that level regularly, our karate is improving at a slower rate.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015