Ahrens shoots for IOC seat

By Michael Uugwanga

THE country’s most decorated Olympian shooter Gaby Ahrens could become a member of the International Olympics Commission (IOC) Athletes Commission if so elected at the upcoming elective congress due to take place around the time of the Tokyo Olympics Games in July 2020.

The IOC Athletes Commission is chaired by former Olympian, Kirtsy Coventry, who is widely regarded as the best swimmer out of Africa yet, having won numerous accolades on the world stage. She is Zimbabwe’s minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.

Ahrens competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics, 2012 Summer Olympics and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the Women’s Trap event. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she was the Namibian flag-bearer, the first woman of her country to receive this honour.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she finished in 9th place, just one target off the finals and was also ranked number one on the African Continent for many years. Ahrens also won African Championship titles in 2011 and 2015, as well as several Namibian, South African and Angolan national titles in Olympic Trap Shooting.  She was awarded Namibia Sports Woman of the Year in 2010, the same year she took bronze at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. Ahrens is also FIFA/Namibia Football Association (NFA) Normalization Committee member.

Speaking about her prospects to Confidente Sport this week, Ahrens said if appointed she would make sure that Namibia has a voice on IOC issues, just like other renowned Olympics power house countries.

In a media release on IOC website, it stated that there are 30 candidates for the upcoming IOC Athletes Commission, representing 30 countries and 19 summer sports. All athletes participating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be eligible to vote. It also says the elected athletes will replace four members whose mandates run out at the end of Tokyo 2020, including Coventry.

“No Namibian is currently on any IOC committee. My main objective and focus is for Namibian sport organisations to become athlete-centred and at all times take the athletes’ needs, views, concerns into consideration. Athletes have a voice and need to be heard,” Ahrens explained.

With Namibian football still in a limbo due to the continuing dispute between the Normalisation Committee and the Namibia Premier League (NPL) over the relegation and promotion issue, in particular the number of clubs set to take part in the league after Orlando Pirates and Civics were relegated last season, the Normalisation Committee still find it hard to call an elective congress to appoint new leaders.

The date set so far by the Normalisation Committee for the elective congress is 22 February 2020, but according to some local football experts there is still doubt about such a congress taking place, especially after the elective congress scheduled for September this year failed to materialise.

The Normalisation Committee was appointed by FIFA earlier this year to administer football in the country until a new committee is appointed but its mandate is set to expire before the IOC election takes place.

“My FIFA/NC appointment is up to 15 March 2020. The NFA elections will take place on 22 February, thereafter the new NFA leadership will take over from the NC and our mandate will come to an end. The IOC elections will only take place in July 2020.

“The Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) will release a press release shortly. It is up to Olympians at the Tokyo 2020 Games to vote for their athlete representatives. I’m hoping to also receive the support from the other African Olympians,” said Ahrens about her plans for the year ahead.