By John Tuerijama
THE newly elected Athletics Namibia (AN) president, Erwin Naimhwaka, said it is extremely crucial for the national body to mobilise resources that ensure the smooth running of athletics programmes.
Naimhwaka said opportunities for athletes to go to high performance centres are generally through the Olympic Solidarity bursaries.
“When such opportunity arises, we will select the athletes that we believe have the potential to make success of such opportunities,” he said.
“In the long term, we really want to ensure that we have functional development structures that do not require our athletes to go out to develop or qualify for international competitions,” he stressed.
On AN’s expansion plans, Naimhwaka said the organisation’s ability and capacity to achieve objectives depends on how successful it is in mobilising funds to ensure a stable and positive athletics structure.
Regarding representation at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Naimhwaka said that it would be a daunting task to ensure a reasonable representation.
“It’s a well-known fact that the preparation cycle for the level of the competition at the Olympic Games is much longer and requires sufficient resourcing.
“We will focus on ensuring that we improve our competition structures in order to help our athletes to qualify for the Games. We will have to provide sufficient competition platforms and also expose our athletes to international competitions,” he said.
“This will require resources and we are putting plans in place for us to secure funding and sponsorship to enable us to conduct such competitions,” added Naimhwaka.
“However, in the long term we want to focus on ensuring that our development approach is revamped through focusing on functional competition structures from youth, juniors and seniors. In order for this to happen we will need to secure sufficient funding, therefore, we will go full throttle to design programmes that are marketable to corporate Namibia to invest in as part of their social responsibility,” he stressed.
He said that funds permitting, AN will financially assist athletes who qualify for major international competitions.
Regarding the athletes on the controversial Vision 2016 programme in Jamaica, Naimhwaka said: “We will try our best to offer them, together with the rest of our athletes, the opportunity for competitions locally and in the region, as well as internationally.”
“I believe with them back home the quality of our competitions will also benefit and I hope that the times and standards will start to improve,” he said.
Naimhwaka said he will spend his time in office mobilising resources to secure funding to carry out AN programmes, establish predictable and stable competition structures, develop a calendar for athletic events to afford the athletes the luxury of enough competitions, work towards setting up functional structures in all 14 regions and implement a well-managed and transparent athletics administration structure.
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