WITH just two-months left ahead of the Commonwealth Games scheduled for Gold Coast, Australia early in April, there are no clear signs, of how many Namibian athletes are qualifying for the world athletic spectacle, nor do we know which athletes are scheduled to compete in the different CommonwealthGames pre-qualification events or athletes who already qualified for the showdown. As far as I am concerned, our various sport codes’ administrators are extremely mum on the number of athletes that they wish to have at the Commonwealth Games, and this has been necessitated perhaps by the lack of funding that has negatively impacted on our athletes’ participation in pre-qualification events. Looking at our two previous participation at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014, which took place in New Delhi, India and Glasgow, Scotland respectively, Namibia has from the two mentioned events brought home six medals. These was a mere improvement in terms of ranking, having ended 26th compared to the 27th position we held in 2010 out of the 71 nations which took part. In 2010, boxer JaphetUutoni, Paralympian Johanna Benson and retired shooter Gaby Ahrens brought home a deserving silver and two bronze medals while the same feat repeated itself in 2014, when Team Namibia also brought home a silver and two bronze medals from Glasgow. Having said that, there is still a lot that needs to be done in terms of improving our ranking, and with a total of 71 nations competing, and having ended 26th overall in the last edition, one wonders if at all a post-mortem on the 2014 Commonwealth Games was conducted and handsomely concluded with the hope of improving on this year’s games? Are we sending athletes who are competent enough to improve on our sluggish performance in Glasgow? Again, the question is whether our athletes have had enough preparations for the Commonwealth Games, or will this just be another waste of tax payers’ money that could have been invested into other areas of urgent concern? Our snail-like approach to events such as the, Commonwealth and the Olympic Games has done nothing but brought shame and disgust just like when most of our athletes failed to finish their events at the Glasgow Games. What a shame, after so much was invested in them! Just like in politics, where there are personalities who have been in the game since the dawn of independence, so are there sport administrators who are equally ailing. They have nothing to offer to the transformation and development of sports in this country. Since independence, Namibia competed five times in the Commonwealth Games, dating back to 1998 when Frank Fredericks won two silvers and a bronze medal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The bottom-line here is basic and simple, in that our sports administrators have no interests in learning from neighbouring countries like Botswana and South Africa, who by SADC standard have produced world class athletes. Interestingly, unlike Namibia both these countries have already announced their provisional teams for the Commonwealth Games. The Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) announced their team, of which some of the athletes attended and are attending training camps around the world, as well as going for medical check-ups in Pretoria, while setting their medal target in Gold Coast at eight while South Africa have equally made their team public. Where are we in earnest? In terms of thorough preparations for the Commonwealth Games, what will the composition of Team Namibia look like? I doubt if at all that there are objectives in place in terms of what we want to accomplish at the Games. I have noticed with dismay, the unwillingness displayed in the absence of post-mortems after each international sporting competition that could have clearly spelled out were to improve in this year’s event, but I guess the reason for not having these important post-mortems is surely due to lack of funds. Adios!
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