The success of any child participating in sport, be it athletics, netball, soccer, rugby or hockey, depends on how much their parents are involved in the moulding and nurturing their development.
Athletes excel if they have a firm support base from parents, siblings and possibly members of the extended family.
They need to know that they are appreciated, not just by their immediate families, but to a large extent, by the residents of a town or the citizens of their country.
Such appreciation and support, will spur them on to perform excellently, to the point that they are crowned world champions, in whatever discipline they partake in.
That said, it has been a sorry sight to witness at national and regional events, how very few parents show an interest in their children’s sporting activities. Mention any code, be it soccer, athletics, netball, rugby, cricket, and you notice the apathy.
Parents, who show an interest in their children’s sporting development, are few and far between. Those that make the time to be there for their children are a mere handful. They must be commended, and their commitment must be an example to those who still do not understand why it is important for a parent to be involved.
I was very pleased to have witnessed last weekend how many parents supported their children at the National Track and Field Championships at the Independence Stadium. In previous years, only athletes cheered each other on, but last weekend was vastly different. The excitement was visible and audible, from both parents and athletes.
This type of support and enthusiasm must become an everyday thing, across all sport codes.
Namibian athletes can only excel if stadiums are filled to the brim, and spectators are chanting for their favourites.
This weekend, the National Schools Championships will take place at the Independence stadium, and Athletics Namibia is looking forward to having more athletes qualify for the IAAF junior world championships.
Parents can, therefore, spur on their children, by coming out in their droves on Saturday.
Let’s hope that parents will rally behind their kids, and get the maximum out of them.
It will be good for the country, if more athletes qualify for the junior and senior world champs this year, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which are scheduled for Queensland, Australia.
Despite that positive note, I have also disappointingly observed that last Saturday’s Track and Field championships had only one corporate partner, Coca-Cola.
This is not pardonable. Until when will corporate Namibia take the country for a ride? Until when should corporates be begged to invest in the sporting future of young men and women?
Where is the pride of the Namibian corporate sector? Why are we seeing only one corporate supporting a national sporting event? It is a shame that some companies bluntly refuse to associate with national events, which in any case also benefits them directly and indirectly. I can’t comprehend the logic of some businesses, whose customers are the very parents of these 300-plus athletes, who competed at last week’s championships. How do we motivate our athletes to excel, if they are not sufficiently rewarded or recognised?
It has become fashionable for companies to wait until someone or a group of athletes have done well, before they join the bandwagon. We see companies placing full-page advertisements to congratulate our athletes, but those same companies refuse to help athletes with funding for preparation or to travel to international competitions. Such hypocrisy must stop forthwith.
Finally, let me congratulate Coca-Cola for their steadfast belief in Namibian sporting talent. I am of the conviction that Namibia has the potential to produce world champions in many codes, but that will only be possible if each stakeholder plays their role meaningfully, and not just for public relations purposes or window dressing.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015