.. Namibia only has a month to prepare for youth games
By John Tuerijama
THE Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) President Abner Xoagub has urged Sports federations that have failed to submit names of athletes set to take part in the upcoming African Youth Games scheduled for Algiers, Algeria from 16 to 26 July.
Xoagub did not have kind words for these sports federations since the country now only has a month to prepare for the youth games.
In an exclusive interview with Confidente recently, Xoagub said that most if not all federations with Commonwealth Games disciplines have failed to provide the NNOC with the names of athletes selected for the African Youth Games.
He said the African Youth Games serves as qualification for the Youth Olympic Games scheduled for Buenos Aires, Argentina from 6 to 18 October.
Xoagub said the NNOC has late last year provided the sport federations with the forms to register their athletes but to his dismay sport codes have not done anything with only a few months to prepare for the games. He questions the snail-like approach by the federations quizzing why they (sport federations) had to wait until a month to kick start their preparations. Xoagub said that there were internal problems in Algeria, however, the African Olympic Committee met with the new sports minister of that country, and the problem has been resolved amicably allowing the youth games to continue as scheduled.
He further added that ministers of sport also had a meeting a fortnight ago to ascertain the problem while all chef de Missions also met in Algeria.
“Namibia was represented by commissioner Peter Wilson as he is the country’s chef de mission to the youth games. It is really up to the federations to start seriously with preparations.
“Sure, it’s going to be a challenge since these preparations were supposed to kick off some two to three years ago, and we were supposed to have identified athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games billed for Tokyo, Japan,” stressed the NNOC president.
Xoagub said that people complained when the NNOC upgraded the qualification standard for athletes yet they expect athletes to do very well at international sport events.
“We are not going to relax the qualification criteria as we will have no changes in our approach towards the 2020 Olympic Games. We need to ensure quality when preparing our athletes as they will compete against the very best in the world,” Xoagub emphasized.
The NNOC president said that time has come to start bringing in dietician, physiotherapist and psychologists when preparing athletes for major competitions including evaluating athlete’s muscles and psychologists to help evaluating athletes. He said the ‘Land of the Brave’ must adopt a scientific approach in preparing athletes for major events including national championships and regional events.
“The challenge is to have athletes qualify for events well ahead of time, and not wait until two months before the actual date of the event but instead prepare for events a year before.”
Meanwhile, the NNOC has now released this year’s qualification criteria for the Africa Youth Games and Youth Olympic Games respectively.
He said athletes aspiring to form part of the Africa Youth Games in Algiers, are required to participate in regional, continental and international competitions sanctioned by IFs events by the 10 June, as the Association of National Olympic Committees for Africa (ANOCA) will not accept sport entries after this date.
Xoagub further added that athletes must be ranked within the top five in Africa and the team sports will be selected by the Ifs.
At present, the NNOC with recommendation from its National Federations is compiling a long list of athletes that could potentially qualify for the event. The long list entries will close on 15 May.
The NNOC president said that seven sport codes are for the Olympic Youth Games at the African Youth Games, and they are athletics, archery, rowing, rugby 7s, hockey, karate and beach volleyball and have been confirmed as qualifiers for the under 18 games, while nine athletes on the Olympic Solidarity Scholarships have already secured their position at the Youth Olympic Games, as this forms part of their contractual obligations to Olympic Solidarity.
The athletes are as follows:
Adrian Grobler (archery), Sade de Sousa (athletics), Ivan Geldenhuys (athletics), Alexander Miller (cycling), Nadine Fleming (equestrian), Lance Potgieter (gymnastics), Heleni Stergiadis (swimming), Ronan Wantenaar (swimming), Hafeni Asino (wrestling). Namibian athletes will form part of 4 000 athletes across the African continent.
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