THE Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) must be congratulated for embarking on a journey to scout for talent in the regions. The national Paralympic leadership has undoubtedly seen a ‘window of opportunity’ presenting itself after the Namibian cabinet recently approved the long-awaited ‘Sports Rewarding Policy’. True leaders will waste no time in ensuring that their athletes benefit maximally from the rewarding policy, and the Paralympic Committee is one classic example. Namibia Beverages, through its Coca Cola brand, must be commended for teaming up with the NPC to transcend regions far and wide in search of potentially talented young Namibians who can represent the country at future Paralympic Games. Surely, the NPC must be targeting 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, thus its drive to scout for more talent from all the country’s regions. Namibia’s Paralympic athletes have done very well during previous international competitions, bringing home the much sought after medals and even overshadowing their able-bodied compatriots. The programme undertaken by the NPC to identify talent from outside Windhoek must be emulated by other sport codes. If such efforts are undertaken there is no doubt that the reimbursement through the rewarding policy will incentivise our athletes to be committed to their individual disciplines and excel. However, to compliment the vision that the nation has in producing future athletics stars, regional leaders, government, the business sector and other sport stakeholders, must revisit the sports infrastructure development initiative. It doesn’t help to identify the right talent but have no proper facilities for them to train and be ready to compete at the top level. As much as government is prepared to reward our athletes handsomely, infrastructure development is key to level playing field. Watching MTC Premiership action being played on a sandy pitch in //Karas region is something we would not want to see 28 years after independence. It’s important that the //Karas regional leadership engages the local business community, from the mining and fishing sectors, to pool their resources and build a proper stadium that will cater for football, netball, basketball and athletics. Let’s rather prioritise on erecting decent sports infrastructure, coupled with ‘High Performance Centres’ in some regions, instead of sending our athletes to neighbouring South Africa where facilities are up to standard. The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, although hamstrung by Government’s budget cuts, must now come up with ways of mobilising the funds for the sport rewarding policy. And thankfully, the Directorate of Sport, in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service has partnered with the NPC in their endeavour to scout for raw talent from the regions.
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