IT is a forgone decision by the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and its line Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, to prioritise certain sports codes for major international competitions.
Having looked at the sports codes that have been earmarked for the novel Under-20 Youth Games, in which ten sport codes have enjoyed preferences, it goes without saying that these are the sports codes that Namibia must focus more on developing.
As we know that there are 52 sports codes under the Sports Commission, with only a few enjoying priority and the first-ever under-20 youth games has served as an indicator of the sports codes that need to get more priority going forward. I firmly believe that it is a constitutional right for all citizens to get involved in the sports that she/he wishes, but having over 50 sport codes of which more than the half are barely competing regionally, continentally or internationally, is not worth it.
Let us rather direct our energies on the sports codes that will see our athletes compete at glamorous events such as the Region 5 Games, All African Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. Now that we know that the Minister of Sport anticipates to have the national documents on sports presented to cabinet before the end of the 2018/19 financial year, a lot still needs to be done.
It is evident that there are ten sport codes selected for the under-20 youth games in preparation for the Region 5 games scheduled for Gaborone later this year, hence we ask why then should the NSC and the Ministry not have these sport codes as the key national sport codes. The draft national sport and recreation policy is one of the documents that should specifically indicate which sport codes must be recreational and which should not be national sports codes.
If the NSC and the directorate of sport is aware of the sports codes that are likely to take Namibia to greater heights on the international sporting arena, then why not sacrifice some of the redundant sport codes? Also while at this prioritisation of sports codes, the relevant authorities should also be looking at the state of affairs regarding the sub-standard sports facilities in the regions, and look at addressing these as a matter of urgency.
It will be not fair to have athletes in the regions that do not have upgraded sporting facilities, but expected to compete against their peers from other regions that enjoy the luxury of up-to-standard sporting facilities. Let the regional political leadership gets up on their laurels and start mobilising their individual business communities to come on board and invest funds towards renovating and constructing sport facilities.
The sport codes prioritised for the under-20 youth games are athletics (able-bodied and Paralympians), basketball, boxing, judo, swimming, netball, football, volleyball and tennis.
Having mention that may I propose that other sport codes needed for our future domestic youth games must include rugby, hockey, cricket, karate, cycling and pistol shooting.
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