06 May 2018 11:50am
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 06 MAY (NAMPA) Namibian athletes are yet to qualify for the African Youth Games (AYG) that will be held in Algiers, Algeria from 19 to 28 July this year.
Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) Secretary-General Joan Smit told Nampa on enquiry Wednesday the closing date for accreditation for the AYG is 15 May 2018, and final entries for those athletes who have qualified is 10 June.
We have received a long list of athletes and officials from federations for the games, said Smit.
According to the NNOC website, athletes aspiring to form part of the AYG are required to participate in regional, continental and international competitions sanctioned by the international federations by 10 June 2018.
The Association of National Olympic Committees for Africa (ANOCA) will not accept sport entries after this date. Athletes must be ranked within the top five in Africa, and the team sports will be selected by the international federations, reads an announcement on the NNOC website.
Namibia School Sports Union (NSSU) National Coordinator, Solly Duiker blamed the lack of communication between sports bodies as the reason why athletes have failed to qualify for major competitions.
Duiker said federations side line the NSSU when it comes to youth competitions.
We have the likes of Sade de Sousa and Ivan Geldenhuys who did well last year at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships in Kenya.
These athlete ran their personal best which would have been qualifying times, plus we have not received those [qualification] criteria, so that we can compare if the athletes met the times or not. Now how do you decide who qualified if the criteria is not there? he asked.
Smit, however, said there is no qualification criteria for the AYG, thus the NNOC in May 2017 gave federations the qualification system for the Youth Olympic Games to work on.
The NNOC recommended to the national federations to work according to the Youth Olympic Games qualification system because the African Youth Games would be a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games in seven sport disciplines, Smit said, referring to athletics, archery, rowing, rugby sevens, hockey, karate and beach volleyball.
She added their objective as the NNOC is to see young athletes excel at the AYG, which serves as a good platform for long-term athletics development and high-performance talent identification.
Athletics Namibia (AN) President Erwin Naimhwaka said the reason why track and field athletes have not yet qualified is because of a lack of resources to implement their training programmes.
We can have programmes on paper and all the intentions, but without resources you will do nothing. Its not only Athletics Namibia that is affected by this problem, he said.
Naimhwaka added that until the problem of availing resources to sports federations is addressed, the sports codes will still face these problems year in and year out.
About 4 000 athletes will participate in 35 different sports codes in the continental quadrennial multi-sport event, which complements the All Africa Games.