Road to Tokyo 2020 very tough: Karumendu

29 Apr 2019 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 29 APR (NAMPA) – Erongo regional sports officer, Berthold Karumendu says it will be a very tough year for marathon runners to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games if they are not rendered assistance.
Speaking to Nampa on Saturday, Karumendu said Namibia does not have a qualifying event for the World Athletics Championships (WAC) and Olympic Games.
“As a country we have accredited measured track races for marathon running that are approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which are not qualifying events,” he noted.
Karumendu added that to have a qualifying race for the WAC or Olympics hosted in Namibia, a lot of money must be put on the table for the race to be rated gold, silver or bronze label.
“We have a lot of talent in terms of marathon running in Namibia, but since we don’t have qualifying events being hosted in our country these athletes are required to travel outside the country to qualify for the world champs or Olympics,” he said.
The sports officer therefore called on the Namibian Sports Commission or the line ministry to start supporting these athletes when they travel to represent the country.
“At the moment Hilaria Johannes has the green card to represent Namibia in Tokyo and other elite athletes can still do that outside the country but unfortunately, will require a lot of money for them to travel there,” he added.
Karumendu said on 12 May 2019, there will be a Gaborone marathon which can be used as a qualifier or the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in September which Namibians can also use to qualify for the WAC or Olympics.
“Marathon runners needs to start getting support from the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service or the sports commission, just like all the other codes who are representing the country.”
Karumendu reiterated that work must be done in advance so people can avoid the argument of who qualified and did not qualify during the Olympics year.
Responding to Nampa on Monday, chief administrator of the Namibia Sports Commission, Freddy Mwiya said they understand the need of having a good number of athletes representing the country at major competitions, but sometimes lack of resources hampers their planning.
“We really don’t have the financial muscles at the commission as our budget will not allow us. We try our level best to assist athletes with transport when travelling but our hope is to in the future assist with their accommodation when they travel outside the country, but that is something we are still working on,” he said.