By John Tuerijama
THE chances that local amateur boxers will showcase their talents at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan look extremely bleak, as there are said to be not enough funds in the coffers of the Namibia Boxing Federation (NABF) to assemble a team. Initially the Boxing Federation failed to assemble a national boxing team for the ongoing International Olympic Committee (IOC) Youth Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it now seems uncertain whether Namibia will have a boxing contingent at the Tokyo Games. Speaking to Confidente this week, NABF president Benjamin Rebang said they could not send a team to Buenos Aires because they could not assemble a team in time, due to ongoing financial constraints. “Unfortunately we could not send a team. We have had issues with the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) who truly wanted us to have a team and assisted where possible, but we could simply not come up with a team,” Rebang stressed. “We never held any national trials nor did we have any national championship. And qualifications for the Youth Games were concluded in March, which we did not attend.” He said they last received funding from the NNOC a few years ago, but also noted that the relationship between the IOC and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) had become strained. The problem is that IOC funding was and remains frozen. Rebang said it was difficult to expect fresh funding at this stage due to the ongoing squabbles between the IOC and AIBA and admitted that the prospect of fielding Namibian boxers at the 2020 Olympic Games looked bleak. The NABF president was not sure if amateur boxers Jonas Junias, Mathias Amunyela and Try-Again Ndevelo are currently benefiting from the IOC scholarship programme, which is meant to run until 2020. He explained that the boxing federation does not deal directly with the boxers when it comes to the scholarship programme; instead the NNOC works directly with the boxers. Despite the financial challenges, Rebang is hopeful of a miracle. He believes there’s a chance that Namibian boxers could qualify for the 2020 Games, depending on how soon the IOC and AIBA can resolve their differences. He emphasised that local boxers can only qualify, but only if they get more international exposure and take part in the 2019 African Championship, European competitions and the Government Podium Performance Program (PPP) to hone their fighting skills. AIBA UNDER CROSSHAIRS The IOC Board has maintained the freezing on all contacts with AIBA, except at the working level and resolved that the AIBA interim president will not get accreditation to the ongoing Youth Games. The letter further states that all funding from the IOC to AIBA continues to be frozen, including Olympic Solidarity Assistance to boxing-related activities through the respective NOCs. A letter written by IOC director general Christopher de Kepper on the IOC executive board’s position regarding AIBA states that with regard to the appointment of an independent Ethics Commission and the specific case of the AIBA interim president versus the US Treasury Department, the IOC Board required a number of actions to be completed and reported to the IOC by 12 November. The IOC Board, according to de Kepper’s letter, also expressed concern over the worrying situation within the AIBA and its current governance. It warned that if these issues were not properly addressed to the satisfaction of the IOC at the forthcoming AIBA congress, the very presence of AIBA boxing on the Olympic programme and also the recognition of AIBA by the IOC are in jeopardy.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015