Taekwondo kicks off in Namibia

FOR STARTERS … (From left) The Namibia Sports Commission’s Chalo Chainda with Sieggie Veii-Mujoro (NTF interim president), Ndeshi Negonya (NSC compliance officer) and Basilius Karupu (NTF executive member) at yesterday’s press conference introducing taekwondo as a national sport. Photo: Sheefeni Nikodemus

Namibia has the potential to excel at taekwondo, the ‘new’ sport code’s volunteer national head, Sieggie Veii-Mujoro, said yesterday.

That was one of the determining factors in establishing the Namibia Taekwondo Federation (NTF) and obtaining recognition from the World Taekwondo Federation general assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan, over the weekend.

Yesterday, Veii-Mujoro shared the federation’s plan to establish regional structures and embed the sport in namibia.

Key to realising their objectives is getting regional clubs going, and to recruit and train coaches, referees and other technical officials.

To that end, the NTF have secured support from abroad through the Namibia Sports Commission, which initiated the process of adding taekwondo to its register.

“We’ll be doing the roll-out in due course and hope Namibians will join. We see ourselves having a team already next year, even if it’s an exhibition team for the next Region Five Games,” said Veii-Mujoro.

The combat sport was developed during the 1940s and 1950s by Korean martial artists with experience in martial arts such as karate, Chinese martial arts, and indigenous Korean martial arts traditions.

“It is an affordable sport for the average Namibian. It doesn’t require a lot. So, it’s a sport that you would want to encourage as it is based on discipline,” Veii-Mujoro said.

The NTF’s development drive includes forging ties with the Namibia Schools Sport Union (NSSU), Tertiary Institute Sports Association of Namibia (Tisan) and uniformed forces. The federation is also finalising its application for admission as a member of the Olympic movement through the Namibia National Olympic Committee.

“It’s not something that just happened out of the blue.People went out and did a lot of analysis to come and recommend this type of sport. We should now make sure of our responsibility to make things happen,” said NTF executive member Basilius Karupu.

The road map for development of the sport of taekwondo in the country is heavily reliant on support from international partners, said Chalo Chainda, the Namibia Sports Commission’s marketing and public relations officer.

“Last year, we had a team from South Korea here and they are willing to assist us in terms of making sure that technical skills are transferred to Namibians. Know-how in terms of facilities and equipment can be procured from there as well,” said Chainda, who believes Namibia can be successful in the sport.

“If you look at the Region Five Games, taekwondo is one of the key codes. Namibia has been doing very well in karate, which is a similar code. If given the opportunity, Namibians would be able to bring us medals in taekwondo,” he noted.

Taekwondo started as a demonstration event at the 1988 olympic Games in Seoul, a year after becoming a medal event at the Pan Am Games, and became an official medal event at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

In 2010, it was accepted as a Commonwealth Games sport.

“There’s been interest coming from the general public, enquiring from the sports commission when taekwondo will become part of the family [a national sport code]. That interest also reached the African Taekwondo Union (ATU), and for that reason, the vice president of that organisation came to Namibia,” Chainda said.

There are two certified Namibian taekwondo instructors at present, with more officials to be recruited and trained through the ATU.
“South Africa is willing to send instructors to us. They wanted to send us six instructors but had to wait for the recognition, because it has to be sanctioned by the world body. We also had contact with Singapore about it, so the world is open to helping us get off the ground and become competitive,” Veii-Mujoro said.

“There’s a group from Korea that is busy training youngsters here already, so there is a place to start from.”

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