By John Tuerijama
DESPITE the economic down turn that has seen cross-cutting budget cuts, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service in collaboration with the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) have invested the much needed funds into the first-ever Under-20 Youth Games.
The Namibia Youth Games (NYG) which kicked off in the capital yesterday (Thursday), will see sport lovers being treated to the best of the best of Namibia’s young sports men and women.
In an exclusive interview with Confidente this week, NSC Chief Administrator Freddy Mwiya said that a total of 1 600 athletes from the country’s 14 political regions will strut their stuff against each other in the hope of winning and taking home the coveted medals at the inaugural youth games.
“We have sent out invitations to the governors and regional chairpersons to attend the games. I am confident that the political leadership will demonstrate their commitment to the games, as they promised us when we visited the regions,” he said.
Athletes will compete in athletics for both the able-bodied and Paralympians, basketball, boxing, football, swimming, judo, volleyball and tennis.
Mwiya said the purpose of the youth games is to improve the performance of Namibia’s best young athletes, and promote widespread involvement in sports as part of preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo, Japan.
The spectacle is expected to be attended by foreign dignitaries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and will conclude on 12 May, with the closing ceremony billed for the Independence Stadium at 18h00.
Quizzed about possible cheating on the competitors’ ages, he said that they have been strict as far as age restriction was concern.
He further added that it was important for the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to have the correct and proper documentation since the event will be used to select a Namibian team for the Region 5 Games scheduled for Gaborone, Botswana later this year.
“Due to limited resources we roped in colleagues from these ministries because we could not bring in private service providers. The athletes were required to produce authentic birth certificates and passports, and that age screening I must say was never compromised.
“We have also talked to the City of Windhoek (CoW) who agreed to ferry spectators to the stadiums, unfortunately transport is only for the opening and closing ceremonies. And since we have agreed not to have entry fees at the games, I call on both young and old sport lovers to attend these events,” emphasised Mwiya.
The various events will take place at different venues that include the Independence Stadium, University of Namibia (Unam), Namibia Football Association (NFA) Technical Centre, Katutura Youth Complex, United Netball Court and the Dolphin Swimming Pool in Olympia.
The NSC chief administrator said they have enlisted the services of the Namibian Police (Nampol) through the Ministry of Safety and Security for the duration of the games, while athletes will be accommodated at various educational institutions.
“Nampol officers will be visible at the venues to ensure that safety of both athletes and spectators is taken care off,” stressed Mwiya. Meanwhile, Mwiya said the first two editions of the Youth Games will take place in Windhoek, and that the idea is to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of the initial two editions before the flood gate is open to the regions to bid for the third edition of the games.
“We really want to do a thorough postmortem of the two initial games before allowing the events to be hosted in the regions and it is really up to the individuals to ensure that they arrange their own transport to attend these games.
“These are multi-disciplinary games of the various sport codes. And the only way athletes can compete it is only when spectators fill these stadiums to the rafters,” he said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015