Team Namibia needs N$8m for Commonwealth Games

…Sport ministry avails N$1 million

• By Michael Uugwanga

THE Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) through its secretary-general Joan Smit has said that it has presented a budget of N$8 million to the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service for the 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

The ministry has however responded to NNOC’s request with a mere N$1 million towards their quest, an amount that is way too little for the country to have a successful campaign in Birmingham.

Local stars to look out for at the games will include Olympians Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi both 19, who will be going to their first Commonwealth Games; while the evergreen Helalia Johannes will be defending her crown she won in Australia in 2018 when she scooped the women’s marathon gold in a time of 2:32:40.

Another athlete expected to retain his title is boxer Jonas Junias Jonas, who like Johannes won the men’s 64kg boxing event in 2018 at the Commonwealth Games.

Mountain bike new king Alexander Miller -who is currently one of the Africa’s top mountain bikers- is also expected to fly the national flag high in Birmingham.

Speaking to Confidente, Smit said that they are still waiting to hear from government on whether their request will be fully answered, with time running out before the announcement of Team Namibia for the games.

“We have budgeted N$8 million, however the office of the executive director in the ministry (Sport, Youth and National Service) has said that it is only willing to give us N$1 million. But what do you do with such an amount? We presented the N$8 million a long time ago. Three weeks ago we had another meeting and we are still waiting for a response from the ministry.

“To be honest with you our athletes, coaches and team mangers have been working extremely hard even during the past two difficult years of Covid-19. I can say that Team Namibia is ready for the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

Smit said she is confident that the athletes will excel beyond expectation, as more medals are expected to come home this year.

“What we have said to the federations and associations is that we cannot go back to two medals. I can say that our athletes will perform to their best of their abilities and that we will have lots of medal contenders.”

In response to the N$8 million budget request towards the Commonwealth Games, executive director in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Dr Audrin Mathe has said that so far they can only avail N$1 million; but that the ministry has requested additional funding from the Ministry of Finance.

“We have made available a million dollars. We have asked the Ministry of Finance for further financial support,” he said.

NNOC is yet to announce a full team that will represent the country in Birmingham as there are still events to be used as qualifiers to the games.