Nam gymnastics mired in confusion

By Michael Uugwanga

THE future of gymnastics in the country will only be determined by the much awaited outcome of an appeal case, following an investigation by an independent committee to look at what really inspired the expulsion of the previous committee of the Namibian Gymnastics Federation (NGF).
In August last year, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) together with the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) appointed an interim executive to run the affairs of gymnastics in the country due to alleged in-house squabbles and mismanagement however the move was not welcomed by then president of NGF, Sonja Olivier, who last month was elected executive president of an offshoot body, Namibia Gymnastics.
The NGF interim executive committee comprising of chairperson Vivienne Katjiuongua and Lesley Vermeulen from the Athletes Commission.
The other member was Eliphas Shipanga, who passed on last month.
Ironically, there are several cases from 2019 that are still outstanding, two of the appeal cases of last year were heard together on April 10, and nine months after the appeals were submitted.
Gymnastics in the country is currently being run by two different bodies; NGF which is being spearheaded by Vivienne Katjiuongua on an interim basis and the Namibian Gymnastics (NG), which is run by Olivier.
Speaking to Confidente Sport, the outspoken Olivier said that she is now in charge of gymnastics in the country after she was elected into power, despite NG not being recognised by NSC.
“We held a successful Annual General Meeting on 27 March already. Cara Olivier is the secretary-general, Charlene Pesch is the director for finance, Linea Kapofi is the public relations officer and liaison and Dione Dicht is responsible for gymnasts’ affairs. The term of office is for four years, meaning the next elections will be in 2025,” said Olivier.
NGF on the other hand has failed to hold its elective congress that was slated for this month; however this failed to happen because of the appeal case.
Meanwhile, chief administrator at NSC, Freddy Mwiya in an exclusive interview with Confidente Sport said that his office (and that of NNOC) has distanced itself from the newly formed NG.
Mwiya said this after saying that the elective congress for NGF will only be determined by the outcomes of the appeal case.
“We gave the committee a term of office to run for four months but we also extended the term of the committee in January 2021 because they could not actually do the required mandate supposed to be done. As you know we had an appeal case of this team (former executive members) that was completed on the 10th April and we are still waiting for the appeal case. The elective congress will still take place definitely.
“Currently as it stands now the interim committee is running the affairs of Namibia Gymnastics Federation.
“I think once we get a ruling from the appeal that will definitely give us a specific rule when the congress will take place and the way forward. The new one (NG) is not affiliated to us … I do not think they are in existence. If they (NG) are in existence it is just a name, if I am too be honest with you,” said Mwiya.