25 Mar 2016 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 25 MAR (NAMPA) - There is a need for a national high performance centre where local athletes can use high-tech sports facilities during their preparations for major national or international competitions.
This was the view of Minister of Youth, Sport and National Service Jerry Ekandjo when he welcomed a team of amateur boxers who returned from the qualifying competition in Yaounde, Cameroon for the Summer Olympics on Thursday.
Currently, national teams mostly rely on private sporting facilities for their preparatory training as Namibia does not have a centre where athletes can train for major sporting events like the Olympics, he noted.
Ekandjo pointed out that local athletes are however doing well despite inadequate funding and a lack of proper sports facilities.
Boxers and paralympic athletes are some of the best performing sports in the country. You always make the nation proud wherever you compete, and put Namibia on the world map, he said.
The seven boxers and their officials paid a courtesy call on the minister on Thursday morning after their arrival from Cameroon where they competed in a qualifying competition for the Olympics from 11 to 19 March.
Two boxers - Jonas Jonas (64kg) who won a gold medal and Mathias Hamunyela (49kg) who secured a silver medal - qualified for the Rio Olympics.
Speaking to Nampa at the same event, gold medallist Jonas said his victory in Yaounde did not come as surprise to him.
I knew that I would make to the Olympics games. Since we will not have another training camp my main focus now is to go back to the gym and train more physically and mentally, he noted.
Hamunyela, who narrowly missed out on a gold medal due to injuries, was happy to qualify for the Olympics for the first time.
It feels great to qualify and take my national flag to Rio. It was not easy to qualify because there were many boxers who all wanted to qualify and make their country proud, said Hamunyela.
The 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games is set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 07 to 18 September.