By John Tuerijama
THE Namibia National Olympic Committee is today locked in a General Assembly which will, amongst others, elect a new leadership and take decisions on pertinent issues. Confidente Sport spoke to the outgoing Deputy Secretary General of the NNOC, Ndeulipulwa Hamutumwa, to provide his personal perspective on the work and challenges facing the organisation.
Hamutumwa is a seasoned sports administrator who is reading for a Doctorate Degree in Sport Management. He has also served as a member of the Namibia Sports Commission and has served as chef de mission to Namibian national teams participating in international competitions, notably the Summer Olympics, Commonwealth Games and All Africa Games.
Confidente: As outgoing Deputy Secretary General (DSG) of the NNOC, what were some of your core responsibilities?
Ndeulipula Hamutumwa: Since my election on the NNOC board in 2004, I have served on numerous portfolios and sub-committees ranging from ordinary board member, treasurer and lastly as Deputy Secretary General. During my tenure on the board, I also served for 12 years on the Management Committee (MC). As a member of the MC, we were tasked to coordinate the affairs of organising Olympic Quadrennial periods. This ranged from strategic management, operational management, financial management and logistics. We were also tasked to coordinate the NNOC activities both locally and internationally. This also entails the management of the Olympic Solidarity Programmes for the benefit of the local stakeholders.
Confidente: Many sports federations are affiliated to the NNOC? How will you best describe the relationship between the various federations and the NNOC leadership?
NH: The relationship between the NNOC and its affiliates has been mutual, sound and beneficial to all stakeholders. The NNOC leadership developed an open-door policy where affiliates are encouraged to approach the organisation if they require any sort of assistance and guidance thereof. The NNOC leadership has further encouraged the associations to take up opportunities presented by the IOC and International Federations through the provision of the Olympic Solidarity Programmes and Continental Grants.
Confidente: As Deputy Secretary General, do you think the grants given to different athletes to assist with preparations for their international competitions such as the Olympics Games are sufficient?
NH: The funding given to athletes for preparation can be summarised as a pure drop in the ocean. There is absolutely no reconciliation between the nation’s expectations on the athlete’s performance and the investments that are geared towards their respective programmes. The dividend that we can derive from athletes’ performances can only be justified if we are ready to invest substantially in the athletes’ preparation. Adequate funding should be availed timely to allow athletes to qualify before competition. This will enable the athletes to prepare timely for local and international competitions. As a nation, we should also develop long term integrated athletes support systems if we want to be counted amongst the best in the world. This ranges from investing in good coaches, managers, dieticians, sport doctors, physiotherapists, medics and technical expertise to mention but a few. We cannot truly expect manna to fall from heaven without investing in our athletes.
Confidente: In which priority areas does the NNOC spend the funds it receives from the IOC?
NH: The NNOC spend its resources in priority areas such as sports administrator training courses, national federation support (i.e. coaches, umpire development and organisational development), women in sport, sport for all programmes, coaches’ development, athletes’ support, sport medicine and sport and environment. The NNOC also spends money in qualification, preparation and team delivery at multi-disciplinary games such as the Youth and Senior Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
Confidente: Namibia’s performance at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games was lacklustre. To what do you attribute such sub-standard performances and the decline in the number of athletes representing the country?
NH: As compared to the rest of the world, Team Namibia was, by global standards, not ready for the Games. Most of the athletes qualified late and had less time to prepare for the Games. Olympic diamonds are polished over eight to 10 years. They should be given sufficient opportunities to compete on the global stage uninterruptedly. Our athletes should dominate the continent and the world prior to the Games if we can expect medals respectively. There is unfortunately no shortcut to Olympic dominance. The formula should always be: Investment and greater global exposure global dominance.
Confidente: As outgoing NNOC Deputy Secretary General what will be your advice to the new NNOC leadership?
NH: The new leadership should continue to strengthen the Olympic ideals in all the corners of the country. They should hold hands with all the stakeholders in the sports industry and build a stronger, united and sustainable sport movement. There is not a better time in the history of our beloved country for the sport movement to unite. There is wisdom in a united front. The country will only succeed on the global sports arena if the sector is united locally. The new leadership should strengthen the administrative blocks of the affiliates because that is where success lies.
Confidente: Which do you think should be the key priority areas for the new leadership and why?
NH: It is advisable for the new committee to continue to maximise the benefits derived from the Olympic Solidarity Programmes. The Committee should host a number of administrative courses in this new quadrennial period 2017-2020. The Committee should work closely with stakeholders in sport to mobilise resources to identify the next crop for the Gold Coast and Tokyo Games respectively.
Confidente: The next Olympic Games are slated for 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. For Namibia to have a reasonable representation of competitive athletes what do you think should the sport administrators across the board do to ensure massive participation not just at the Olympic Games but also at the Commonwealth Games?
NH: President Hage Geingob’s philosophy and doctrine of “no one should feel left out” should be adopted as the motto of the sports movement, leading towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympic Games respectively. It is imperative that we put aside our selfish and individual egos and hold hands for the sake of the true owners of sport and the athletes. The vicious disunity that we experienced over the years should be challenged and abolished without any further delay. Nations that have succeeded above all are those that stakeholders work together as a collective and do not see each other as them vs us. Let us identify the next athletes timely and place them into a well-funded pathway. Let all the stakeholders in the sport movement rally behind our future Olympic stars in the spirit of oneness.
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