Athletes get N$3000 for Africa Games

By John Tuerijama

THE Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) chief administrator Freddy Mwiya said athletes scheduled to compete at the 2019 Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco each received N$3,000 as pocket money while in the North African country.

The NSC chief administrator did not reveal the actual date the athletes received the money, but some athletes this publication talked too said they had struggled to buy nutritional products during their preparation.

Mwiya added that they also covered the athletes’ travel costs for the competition, accommodation and meals. Asked about the poor attendance of athletes during the official send-off by the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero, the chief administrator said athletes such as cyclists were training in Europe while the tennis players were in neighbouring Angola.

He said the send-off was held in Swakopmund because both boxing and karate held their training camps at the coastal town, with wrestling doing their preparation in South Africa. “Therefore, you cannot expect all to fly back for sending off as it is costly.”

The poor attendance irked Tjongarero who called for the national team’s send-off to be done by the highest office of the land. Mwiya in his response said the send-off of such teams was in line with the NSC policy, which is to be done by the line minister or President. Mwiya said that an invitation was extended to the relevant offices adding that the principal decision was not theirs.     

On Namibia’s competitiveness at the Africa Games the chief administrator said the chances of success were high as the country has now become a team that can compete internationally and bring home positive results.

Asked about his preparation, Namibian Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jonas Junias Jonas said though he struggled to get nutritional supplements he was nonetheless happy with his preparation for the Africa Games.

“We were promised to have upscale training camps but had to train on our own. We are eight boxers and had to travel to and from the training camp and despite a few shortcomings I am confident of a good showing in Rabat, Morocco.”

He said he had trained intensively for one and a half month locally, adding that he was in the best shape in terms of fitness. When asked what Namibian boxing fans can expect, the young amateur boxer said the country must have the usual expectation that he will bring home a medal.

“I have high hopes at the Africa Games and I intend on bringing a gold medal, not just at the Africa Games but also at the October World Championships billed for Russia.”

Born in 1993, Jonas attended Vrede Rede Primary School, Atlantic Junior Secondary and SI Gobs Secondary School. He earned acclaim in 2014 when he won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games at the age of 20 years to become the fourth Namibian boxer to win a medal at the games. He also competed in the men’s lightweight division at the 2016 Commonwealth Games in Rio de Janeiro and was the flagbearer during the parade of nations.