Tjongarero launches MTC Youth Games 2020

By Michael Uugwanga

THE MTC Namibia Youth Games slated for December 16 to 18 at the Rietfontein Training Centre in the Otjozondjupa region were officially launched  by the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero on Monday at the head office of the Namibia Sports Commission in Windhoek.

The MTC National Youth Games will be hosted for the second time after the inaugural event in 2018 in Windhoek but could not be hosted last year due to financial constraints.

MTC Namibia is the official sponsor of the event having pledged N$5.6 million for the next three years, which will see N$1.8 million, spent annually during the period.

The Youth Games will comprise of eight sport codes namely para-athletics, athletics, boxing, volleyball, football, basketball, netball and tennis and only players under the age of 19 will be eligible to participate in the games which will be contested by athletes from all 14 regions.

NSC chief administrator, Freddy Mwiya said the games will serve as good preparation to the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games scheduled for December 2021 in Lesotho.

“In 2018 at the first edition we only had about four months to prepare for the Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana, but now we will have about eight to nine months of preparations for the next youth games in Lesotho. Swimming and gymnastics have said that they will not be part of the MTC Youth Games as they will be having their own trials and Judo also said that they will also be hosting their own events,” said Mwiya.

Governor of Otjozondjupa region, James Unomasa Uerikua assured the athletes and officials that their safety will be prioritised and also told the Local Organisation Committee (LOC) that his region is well prepared to host the event.

“We will have a police taskforce in place, so your safety will be secured. We are also grateful to be the host region for the games and I can assure you that we will be hosting successful games,” said Uerikua.

Addressing those in attendance at the launch, Tjongarero said that the competition would serve as a vehicle in identifying talent which will take local sport to greater heights after urging the athletes to be true ambassadors for their respective regions.

“The games as introduced are part of an athletics pathway programme as the ministry and NSC with sister partner Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) and affiliates plan to introduce senior games in future to ensure Team Namibia is well prepared for 2023 African Games, 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2024 Olympic Games. This has been long overdue as Namibia should have introduced this long ago.

“These games are aimed at shaping and identifying talent from all 14 regions and will see the selection of Team Namibia that will represent our country at the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games. From its inception, the Youth Games have created tangible and intangible legacies for the Namibian youth, the youth games movement and sport development and will continue to help the youth to understand and spread the values of integrity, fair play, competence, commitment to excellence and respect the value of life,” said Tjongarero.

MTC’s John Ekongo said that MTC is exploring the possibility of adding another N$1 million on top of the N$1.8 million annually, if the games turn into a success.

A maximum of 80 athletes from each region plus 12 officials per region in each sport code will be allowed at the games due to Covid-19 protocols.