Namibian athletes lack the drive to succeed: Fredericks

23 Oct 2017 16:50pm
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 23 OCT (NAMPA) - Former Namibian sprinter Frank Fredericks said the current crop of athletes in the country lacks the drive to succeed.
The four-time Olympic Games silver medallist said even if a lot of money is pumped into sports, athletes would need to have the drive, hunger and determination to succeed, which is something he has not seen in the current group of athletes.
Fredericks was speaking to Nampa on Friday during the Frank Fredericks Foundation Golf Day at the Omeya Golf Course on the southern outskirts of Windhoek.
“It’s not an easy ride to be a professional athlete, and most athletes in the country quit the sport when the going gets tough,” he said, exemplifying how some athletes would leave the sport when they are told they are not performing to the best of their abilities.
“Most athletes look at my lifestyle then think it was easy, but it was tough during the lonely days as an athlete.”
Fredericks said Namibians are not supportive when athletes are not doing well but if athletes want to be champions, they need to turn a blind eye to what is being said and instead focus on their set goals.
“If I listened to all the critics I would have quit a long time ago without achieving the goals that I set for myself,” the former sprinter said, referencing his earlier ambitions of getting his mother out of poverty, which were realised through the support of Rossing Uranium mine who sponsored him.
Fredericks said young athletes should start “taking it on the chin” and pay more attention to what they can do on the track instead of what people say they can do.
“I had a drive of becoming the fastest African athlete and then I wanted to be the fastest in the world; those were the first things that drove me. I never listened to what my critics said because they never understood what I wanted to achieve.”
Namibia’s fastest athlete to date said despite not winning an Olympic gold medal he has no regrets, but hopes the current generation of athletes can continue with that dream.
“I don’t see young athletes saying Frankie never won the country an Olympic gold medal and I want to be the first; that is the hunger I currently don’t see.”
He added that when he was an athlete, there were guys more talented than him but they did not have the drive, “that is why Namibia only had one Frankie”.