By John Tuerijama
THE Namibia Canoe and Rowing Association (NCRA) has made significant strides despite not receiving any funding from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) for the past four years.
NCRA president Mike Haimbodi told Confidente Sport that the only assistance that the body has received was in the form of transport for the Namibian team that competed in the 2016 Olympic Slalom in Durban, South Africa. Apart from that, no other support has been forthcoming from the sport commission, Haimbodi said.
The lack of funding has prevented the NCRA from expanding its programmes to previously and currently disadvantaged communities, especially those who live along rivers.
Following a notification by the NSC to all sport federations that they should not expect funding for the next year, Haimbodi said the situation is expected to get worse. “This will seriously affect the operations and activities that we have planned for the year.”
On the positive side, Haimbodi said a church organisation has helped the NCRA to construct a boat house at Lake Oanob outside Rehoboth at the cost of N$2 million. He said the inauguration of the facility will take place in June this year.
In addition, the NCRA has also established a rowing club at Rehoboth. This club has 60 aspiring rowers aided by three volunteers. It is fully supported by the German Rowing Federation, Haimbodi said.
According to Haimbodi, the NCRA eventually wants to have a team that will compete at the 2020 Olympic Games slated for Tokyo, Japan.
“I am very confident that we will qualify for the 2020 Olympics, because two years ago, we had four of our rowers competing at the African Games held in Algeria where they reached the finals,” said Haimbodi.
In addition to targeting the Olympics, Haimbodi said the NCRA has also identified four athletes who will represent Namibia at the African Youth Championship in Rabat, Morocco later this year.
“That event is very important for our athletes to compete in. We really cannot miss that event as it is our build up towards the 2010 Olympic Games. If they do well, our athletes could be awarded scholarships to attend training camps in Netherlands but that all depends on how well they will perform,” he noted.
He said the association needs N$80 000 to have the athletes compete in Morocco as the hosts only provide in-country transport during the competition. Namibia is expected to cover costs related to the team’s air travel, accommodation and meals.
As one of their 2016 success story, Haimbodi said young sensation Karl Jacobie, was identified by the International Canoeing Federation (ICF), and was invited to attend a month-long training camp in Italy through the Olympic Solidarity Programme under the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC).
Meanwhile, Haimbodi said although attempts to introduce Canoe Polo in Katutura, Windhoek did not go as planned; it did not hinder Namibia from participating in the Canoe Polo competition that was held in Italy last September. Namibia finished 30thout of 198 participating countries
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015