By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA’s Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Jonas Junias Jonas and three other amateur boxers are likely to get scholarships from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Solidarity Program.
The scholarships are in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games slated for Tokyo Japan, where the Namibia Boxing Federation (NABF) is hopeful to get medals.
Jonas defeated Canadian-born Thomas Blumenfeld 5-0 on points in the 64kg division, to secure Namibia’s first gold medal, ahead of long distance runner Helalia Johannes who scooped another gold medal on Saturday. NABF President Benjamin Rebang revealed to Confidente this week that the boxing federation had applied for the scholarship, and were waiting for a response to that effect.
Rebang said the boxers likely to benefit from the scholarship included Matias Hamunyela, Tryagain Ndevela and a young upcoming boxer known as Nestor from the Erongo region.“We have not received any feedback but I think we will get the response when the ongoing battle between the IOC and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is amicably settled.
“Earlier this year we applied to have a boxing coaching course sometime in March but did not have one because of the ongoing battle between the two organizations,” said Rebang. He said the problem will only be resolved when AIBA adheres to the some of the conditions proposed by the IOC.
Asked about Jonas’ accomplishment at the Commonwealth Games, the NABF president said that despite the alleged sexual allegations against Jonas, the boxer was focused on the objective at the Games.
“Jonas is undoubtedly one of Namibia’s accomplished boxer, and in spite of the ongoing rape case he was determined to better his last performance when he brought home a silver medal at the previous Games.
“He is an extra ordinary boxer endowed with a natural talent. Looking at the problems he faced while at the Olympic Games in Brazil during 2016, we drafted him in the national team that took part in the African Boxing Championships last year in Congo, Brazzaville and he did very well,” he said.
Rebang said that the gold medalist is indeed a complete boxer, and that he would be ranked amongst the country boxing best soon.
He said Jonas was still young and after the 2020 Olympic Games he would have to make a decision on his future plans since the boxing federation had done its best in building him into a complete boxer.
Thanking and giving recognition to Jonas trainer, 55-year-old Albertus Tsamaseb, the NABF president said the trainer has mentored Jonas into one of the country’s best boxer. He said that Tsamaseb started training Jonas in 2003, at the tender age of 10 in his garage at his residence in Swakopmund.
“He has mentored this world class boxer and others with little but love for the sport and the vision to see Jonas achieve greatness,” he said.
Born in Sorri-Sorris, a small village between Uis and Khorixas in the Erongo Region, Tsamaseb was a boxer himself, and in 1979 he stepped up to the senior ranks with his most memorable moment being his 1988 National Championship fight against boxing legend Harry Simon.
He established a boxing club in 2001 in Swakopmund after encouragement by his friend and childhood boxing-mate “Mistake” Gariseb. In May 2014, Tsamaseb moved his gym from the garage to Vennetta Sports Stadium, after the sports administrator in the Ministry of sports, Hendrik Mapele paid him a visit, prior to Jonas’ Glasgow campaign.
In 2016, Tsamaseb was amongst the 19 national coaches that took part in the first ever Star 1 International Boxing Association (AIBA) coach’s course in Namibia. He is now an internationally accredited and qualified boxing coach. His Academy ‘Albertus Tsamaseb Boxing Academy’ is home to over 45 boxers. He has no sponsor and has consequently been footing the operating bills from the little he makes from his job as an auto-mechanic and panel beater at Reptile Uranium and other jobs, since he did not make training fees compulsory.
He expressed satisfaction to help in keeping the youth off the streets.
Rebang said, “Here is a man of great character, a man with great boxing insight and foresight, and a man who takes rough stones and polishes them into precious gems. He has done a lot for boxing development but he is not done with Jonas Junias.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015