…says people should stop complaining about age
By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA’s sprint legend, Frank Fredericks has called on government and the business sector to invest more funding in sports, if the country wants to see an investment return in terms of more medals at international sporting events.
Despite retiring from active sport and still holding the 200m world indoor record, Fredericks congratulated the two athletes Helalia Johannes and Jonas Junias Jonas who scooped gold medals at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia.
In an interview with Confidente this week, he said the two gold medals were a clear demonstration that there was a significant improvement in sport locally.
“It is an improvement and after what Jonas had gone through at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, we must accept that he has a phenomenal talent, and we must as a country invest in that talent before he turns professional,” emphasised Fredericks.
He said despite Johannes age, she had been the country top marathon runner, and that she had finally earned a gold medal.“She has never stopped and at the age of 37-years she finally won a gold medal. It’s a sign that we must never care about age, and we must start investing in our athletes especially the athletes between the ages of 23 and 25-years old.
“We must start supporting our athletes both young and old and Johannes has proven that winning a gold medal has nothing to do with age,” said the sprint legend.
Fredericks took a swipe at the sub-standard sport facilities especially in the rural areas where talented young people were mostly disadvantaged compared to their peers in urban areas. He urged those in leadership positions to find solutions like getting projects that will enhance the development of sport in the areas were sport facilities are non-existent.
Asked about the newly launched Namibia National Youth Games scheduled from 10 to 12 May in the capital, Fredericks said that the youth in rural areas were always at the disadvantage because they had to compete against athletes from Windhoek who had all sport facilities.
Fredericks said that for the situation to be normalised and improved by closing the gap, there must at least be one or two schools equipped with sport facilities in the regions.
The four silver medalists called on coaches in the regions to improve their qualifications to better prepare athletes for regional, continental and world sporting events.
The sprint legend, who holds the third fastest non-winning time for the 200m at the Olympic games final held in Atlanta, Georgia said athletes from Windhoek were training throughout the year compared to their compatriots in the rural areas.
Asked if there were athletes capable of breaking his indoor world record, Fredericks said that the only country trying so badly to break his record were American athletes.
“I trained for four days for that discipline and I knew when to slow down but deliberately attempted that because I knew I was capable.”
He said that the Americans are closer to snatching his record but only in the next few years. The Namibian sprint ace, is also the oldest man to have broken the 20 seconds record for the 200m in July 2002 in Rome, were he won the race creating a new record time of 19.99 seconds at the age of 34-years.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015