Namibia ready for Olympics
A DELEGATION of 22 people will represent Namibia at the London Summer Olympic Games which start on July 27.
The delegation will consist of nine athletes, eight coaches who will double as managers, and five officials.
A further four Namibian delegates have been invited by the International Olympic Committee and will attend as guests of the IOC. They are Minister of Sport Kazenambo Kazenambo, who will be accompanied by the Director of Sport, Dr Vetumbuavi Veii, the president of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC), Agnes Tjongarero, NNOC secretary general Abner Xoagub and IOC member Frank Fredericks.
“The IOC has strict guidelines and the size of our delegation was determined by the number of athletes who qualified. Because of the small size of our team, the coaches will have to double as managers,” said Dr Veii.
The rest of the officials include the Chef de Mission, Ndeulipula Hamutumwa, the team doctor, Dr Ben Viljoen, the NNOC’s administrative secretary, Anna Wimmert, the NNOC’s assistant secretary general and general team manager Joan Smit, and the team’s media attaché, Helge Schutz.
Hamutumwa called on the Namibian nation, and particularly sport administrators, to set aside their differences and support the team.
“I want to call on our nation to adhere to the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship and put aside their differences so that we can support our athletes as one nation,” he said.
Hamutumwa said Namibia’s athletes had already competed at several major international tournaments over the years and were now optimally prepared for the Olympic Games.
“It’s not easy to win medals at the Olympics and it takes years to get there. But most of our athletes are now seniors and have competed at international events like the Commonwealth Games and the All-Africa Games since 2006,” he said.
The Namibian team consists of marathon runners Helalia Johannes and Beata Naigambo, 400m athlete Tjipekapora Herunga, shottist Gaby Ahrens, road cyclist Dan Craven, mountain-bike cyclist Marc Bassingthwaighte, boxers Mujandjae Kasuto and Jonas Matheus and wrestler Sem Shilimela.
Hamutumwa said the athletes were in top shape after preparing locally and abroad over the past few months.
“The athletes are finishing their preparations and are in great form. Beata beat more than 25 000 athletes to win a road race in London over the weekend, while Tjipe did well in an international meeting in Madrid. Our boxers are busy training in Cuba, Dan Craven has been training in the United States and Gaby Ahrens recently competed in Italy, so they are all ready. Whoever is prepared the best mentally and physically will do well,” he said.
Referring to Tjipekapora Herunga, who was disqualified at the African Championships after a false start, Hamutumwa said they were working on the athlete’s mental preparation.
“Every athlete experiences that and I know that her coach Letu Hamhola is now working on her mind so that she can absorb that pressure,” he said.
Hamutumwa said the Namibian Olympic Committee had decided that shottist Gaby Ahrens would be Namibia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony on July 27, while wrestler Sem Shilimela will be the flag bearer at the closing ceremony on August 12.
The Namibian team will call on President Pohamba at State House on Wednesday, July 18, while the majority of the team will leave for London two days later.
“There has been a lot of tension in our society with sport administrators fighting and so on, but let’s put our differences aside and let the Olympic Games be an example of what society should be like now and in the future,” Hamutumwa concluded.