Lack of funds hinder boxers' Olympic qualifiers

03 Mar 2016 20:30pm
WINDHOEK, 03 MAR (NAMPA) – Seven boxers are expected to leave for Yaounde, Cameroon on Sunday to compete in Olympic qualifiers, but the biggest obstacle standing in their way is the lack of finances to send all of them there.
The qualifiers will be held from 11 to 19 March 2016.
Only three boxers have thus far received funding from the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) to go to Yaounde.
They are Jonas Jonas, 64kg; Lazarus Shaningwa, 60kg; and Mathias Hamunyela, 49kg.
The four other boxers still waiting on funding are Abel Mikasiu 69kg; Fillipus Nghitumbwa 56kg; Titus Joseph 75kg; Lubben Kandimba 52kg.
It is the last qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games set to take place in August.
Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF) President Benjamin Rebang expressed disappointment in the delay to disburse funds for the boxers to attend the qualifiers.
The funding is supposed to come from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and National Service through the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC).
Rebang added that the NBF needs N.dollars 400 000 to send the boxers, coaches and other technical staff to the Olympic qualifiers.
“We have been waiting for the NSC on the promise they made to us earlier this year to avail funds for these preparations, but we have not received anything yet. Procedures and bureaucracy in acquiring funds through the NSC from the ministry are hindering the progress of amateur boxing,” he said.
The NSC told this agency on Tuesday that it is dependent on the line ministry for funding, and federations need to plan ahead of time and not only engage the NSC at the eleventh hour “as this makes it difficult in terms of the commission taking a well-informed decision as it also has budgetary implications attached to it”.
Jonas won a gold medal, while Shaningwa and Hamunyela both won bronze medals at the Zone Four boxing tournament in Mozambique on 22 January this year. Jonas and Hamunyela won silver medals at the All Africa Games in Congo, Brazzaville in September last year.
Speaking to this reporter on Thursday, Shaningwa said he was happy to be selected to represent his country at the games in Cameroon, and is looking forward to fly the national flag high.
“We have been in camp for two weeks now and the coaches have motivated us well. I am looking forward to qualifying for the Olympic Games because it’s every athlete’s dream to compete at the highest level for his country,” he said.
Hamunyela added that it would be his first time competing at Olympic qualifiers, and he is motivated to qualify for the games and make the country proud.