19 Mar 2016 11:00am
By Kaipaherue Kandjii
GOBABIS, 19 MAR (NAMPA) The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service is yet to put a system in place to reward athletes who win medals at international sporting events.
Speaking to Nampa via phone on Friday, Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service Sivhute Katamba confessed that no policy exists to reward athletes.
It is not something that can be done in a week. It is a process where we have to engage our legal drafters and it still has to be approved by Government, said Katamba.
He reiterated that such a system has to reflect the budgetary provisions the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service receive annually.
If a certain athlete or team wins a medal or a particular tournament then the system has to have a specific reward for such an achievement. It cannot be such that we give N.dollars 100 today and N.dollars 50 tomorrow, or N.dollars 200 next week. It cannot work like that, he said.
Katamba conceded that the plight of unemployment faced by athletes is an issue of priority for Government, disclosing that the Sport Ministry approached the Ministry of Safety and Security for athletes to be incorporated into their structures.
We are really trying. We approached them to take our athletes but unfortunately we cannot decide for them.
One factor to be considered, he said, is athletes with disabilities and athletes' competency skills in general.
Recent years have seen a barrage of criticism directed at Government and sport administrators after it emerged that the majority of Namibias athletes with disabilities are wallowing in poverty despite excelling at major events such as the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships, Paralympics and All Africa Games.
In an isolated case, gold medal paralympian Johanna Benson was showered with numerous rewards, including a house, had a street named after her, and received a diplomatic passport for her exploits at 2012 Paralympics Games in London.
Athletes with disabilities are undoubtedly among the best performing sport personalities in Namibia, and always bring home medals from international competitions.
This year, a record number of 10 athletes have qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games slated for Rio de Jainero from 07 to 18 September this year.
Meanwhile, a group of 35 athletes with disabilities left for South Africa Thursday morning for the 2016 South African Disability Sport Champions from 21 to 24 March in Bloemfontein.