Pohamba bid Olympians farewellBy: HELGE SCHUTZ
PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday bade Namibia’s Olympic team farewell and urged them to make the nation proud by bringing back some medals.
Namibia’s Olympic and Paralympic teams called on Pohamba at State House before the first group of athletes will depart for London tomorrow morning.
“We look forward to seeing you coming back with medals – that medal will make not only you proud, but the whole Namibian nation, so please do everything you can to make the nation proud,” Pohamba said.
Also in attendance were various government officials, some of whom will be accompanying the teams to London, as well as the British High Commissioner to Namibia, Marianne Young.
Some of the government officials were Deputy Minister of Sport Pohamba Shifeta, Members of Parliament Ambrosius Kandjii and Alexia Manombe-Ncube, who will accompany the Olympic and Paralympic teams to London respectively, and the Director of Sport, Dr Vetumbuavi Veii.
Also in attendance were the secretary general of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, Abner Xoagub, and the Chef de Mission of the Namibian Olympics team, Ndeulipula Hamutumwa.
Pohamba urged the athletes to be well behaved and to be mindful that they will be representing their country during the next three weeks London.
“Most of you will be visiting London for the first time and are very excited, but remember to be well behaved because you are representing the nation and there will be thousands of observers.”
Pohamba congratulated the athletes for having qualified for the Olympics and thanked all the officials and coaches who had played a role in their success. He also thanked High Commissioner Young for assisting with Namibia’s preparations and had a special word of praise for the British.
“The British people are the best at organising things. I saw the organisation of the Queen’s jubilee and it was fantastic,” he said.
Shifeta introduced Namibia’s athletes who will compete at the Olympic Games, while Xoagub said the team would not disappoint the nation.
“The last time I was here with the Namibian team that went to the Commonwealth Youth Games, we won a gold medal, so if our athletes can get a handshake from the Honourable President, they will make a commitment to come back with medals,” he said.
Pohamba handed over Namibian flags to Gaby Ahrens, who will be Namibia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics on July 27, as well as to Ananias Shikongo who will be Namibia’s flag bearer at the Paralympic Games opening ceremony on August 29.
Namibia’s athletes in attendance were shottist Ahrens, mountain biker Marc Bassingthwaighte, wrestler Sem Shilimela, marathon runners Beata Naigambo and Helalia Johannes.
Cyclist Dan Craven and 400m athlete Tjipekapora Herunga are currently training in Europe and will join the team at the Athletes’ Village in London.
Boxers Mujandjae Kasuto and Jonas Matheus will fly directly to London from Cuba, where they are currently putting the finishing touches to their training programme.