… As Tjongarero urges for smaller global contenders
By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA’S quest to produce global competitors, who can bring home medals from international sporting events, has taken a new turn, with Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero, urging sport administrators to start scouting for shorter athletes.
Although Tjongarero’s new strategy may sound slightly bizarre, it was her experience at the Rio Olympics and Rio Paralympics last year, which prompted her quest, as many of the champions who emerged in the hammer throw, discuss and weightlifting events were in fact small in stature.
The deputy minister said she has asked athletics coach Michael Hamukwaya and the Deputy Director for Marginalised People and Women in Sport, Jo-Ann Manuel, to scout for talented people, who are small in stature, and mould them into competitive athletes.
“I told them to start scouting for persons of unusually small stature, to be part of our national teams, so that they can bring home more medals from sporting events. I told them right after Rio, to start scouting for such persons,” Tjongarero said. She said that she has also come across a number of people, who are small stature, and they could be approached to find out what kind of sport they interested in.
She said that sport officials should have already started scouting, by travelling all over the country, while saying she is still awaiting feedback.
Tjongarero said that she had met someone at a Windhoek service station, and she was confident that he is one of the athletes who could be trained to be part of the country’s Paralympic team.
Commenting on the achievements of the Namibia’s Paralympians at the recently held Regional Annual Sport Awards (RASA) in South Africa, Tjongarero said that, as usual, the country’s athletes did extremely well.
Paralympian sensation, Ananias Shikongo, was named as the 2017 RASA Sportsman of the Year with a Disability, while Johanna Benson clinched the Sportswoman of the Year title and the Junior Sportswoman of the Year award was won by Maybonne Swart.
The Journalist of the Year title went to Namibian, Kaino Ndeumono. Tjongarero said the RASA gongs are an achievement for the entire country.
She said that 27 years after independence, able-bodied athletes are still finding it extremely difficult to win medals at major events, such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.
“My message to the sport administrators of the various sport codes is to go back to the drawing board. I must accept that we haven’t done much, and it’s time we invest in own junior athletes and start moulding them,” said Tjongarero.
She said that it will be of no use to send 20 athletes to major sport events, who bring home no medals, and that the country should rather invest in three to four athletes, who are likely to be successful.
“I hope the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU) has identified junior athletes, so that we can invest in them, because it no use taking a huge contingent to international competitions, who will come home empty-handed.
“I have talked to sport federations, and again they have not come back to me. Maybe they already have profiled their junior athletes, who we can invest in for the next ten years, because it’s no use investing in athletes for a period of three years, and then expecting them to win medals. With our little resources, I think we can invest in our own junior athletes,” Tjongarero said.
The deputy minister said that she planning to meet Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Administrator, Freddy Mwiya, and his commissioners, because she is now becoming frustrated with the lack of a progress being made to identify young and talented athletes.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015