Tjongarero blasts Olympic athletes
THE president of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, Agnes Tjongarero, could not hide her disappointment with the country’s poor performance at the Olympic Games, and called on the athletes to account for their lack of medals.
Speaking at Hosea Kutako International Airport upon her arrival from London with the team, Tjongarero said the NNOC did all they could to help the team financially.
“Personally I am not satisfied with the performance (of the Namibian team). This time, before the team left, we made everything possible available to the team. We even asked the coaches to make their plans available and financially we supported them, but now I think it’s high time that the athletes must account,” she said.
“We cannot always come back and be interviewed and asked what happened. We made everything available but it’s the athletes who are the ones going out onto the field - let them tell the nation why they didn’t get anything, I think that will be the best.”
Tjongarero said they needed to start preparing for Rio 2016 now, and that they needed to unearth new talent.
“I think we must start preparing now for Brazil, but we have to look broader. We have to go back to the schools and get the youngsters. I mean some of these athletes of ours have been to all the Games, like the All-Africa Games and the Commonwealth Games while it is already the second Olympics for some of the athletes. Yet we are still at the same spot, so I think we have to go back to the drawing board and we must go to the schools and look broader.”
Tjongarero said various sport bodies in Namibia had to help unearth and develop new talent.
“I’m sure Namibia must have athletes out there, but the Namibia Olympic Committee cannot do that – that is the work of the federations, of the NSSU (Namibia School Sport Union) and TISAN (Tertiary Institutes Sport Association of Namibia). Actually the NNOC only deals with the elite athletes, but now we are expected to go back and even do the development but that is not our mandate. That mandate is for different people and I will ask all the federations to go out there and get the athletes, because they are there. Once they are there we can develop them and help them to become stars, but just to stay with the few that we have, I don’t think that we are moving,” she said.
According to Tjongarero, financial assistance from the private sector will come once the athletes start performing and making a name for themselves.
“The private sector will come in once the athletes start performing. Nobody wants to invest in something that is unknown, but once the names come up – like all these athletes from South Africa – the money will come. I read now on the plane that some South African athletes already got cars and some received new sponsorships, because they got medals. They are now known names and now the sponsors will come in, so it is for us to put in something, to get the athletes to perform, and once they perform I’m sure the private sector will also come in,” she said.