…Veteran coach says more international competitions needed
By John Tuerijama
AFTER winning medals at the just ended Botswana International Invitational Permit Track and Field National Championship in Lobatse, Chef de Mission Betuel Karumendu says more international competitions are needed if Namibia is to excel internationally.
The 16 athletes who represented the ‘Land of the Brave’ competed against fellow athletes from host Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
Namibia brought home two gold medals through Sailmi Nduviteko who took gold in the 800m and the 1 500m while compatriot Virginia Kujandeka also got gold in shot put.
Silver medallists were Warren Goreseb in the 400m and 400m hurdles while teammate Meriam Minin won silver in high jump.
Namibia’s bronze medallists are Rodengudus Gustaf in the 800m and 1 500m while Roger Haitenge took one in the high jump with Hummad Bock taking another bronze in the 400m.
Karumendu told Confidente this week that the event serves as preparation and qualification for the upcoming African Senior Championships scheduled from 1 to 5 August in Nigeria.
Disappointingly, Karumendu said that Namibia’s competitive standard is extremely low and that lack of competitive international competition is the negative attribute.
“That was the last championship before the kick-off of the Senior African Championship. Namibia still has to select a team but I must tell you the qualification for the senior championships is extremely high.”
He further added that they have recommended some athletes to Athletics Namibia (AN) for consideration but if the recommendations are not entertained than theAN can select athletes from the 2018 national championships that took place in march in the capital.
Karumendu believes that Namibia will not do well at the African championships because of the competitiveness of the African championships. “Other African athletes get invitations to compete in the IAAF Grand Prix, Diamond League and World Championships which are scheduled before the African championships. Now there you will see athletes competing in Europe before heading to Nigeria and our athletes will be match. “It is no use having one competition before events such as the African championships. But we must find a way where we can have our athletes compete in the three South African Grand Prix,” emphasized Karumendu.“Namibians need to up their standard and get invited to competitive competitions where top African athletes get invited. We must expect ‘fireworks’ in Nigeria because our athletes do not have the calibre to match their African counterparts,” said Karumendu. He added that since the retirement of sprint ace Frank Fredericks and distance runner Agnes Samaria, there has been a huge gap in replacing the duos.
Karumendu who is also the Regional Sport Officer at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service is of the opinion that AN must consider exposing athletes to bigger and challenging competitions to produce the likes of Fredericks and Samaria. Contacted for comment, AN President, Erwin Naimhwaka said even if there are scheduled events from which they can select athletes for the African championships, they (AN) do not have the resources to send athletes.
He added that the selection process is not yet concluded since it is ending in July but the national athletic body simply does not have the resources.
However, Naimwhaka said that there are several athletes already qualified but the qualification will determine the number of athletes to be sent
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015