13 Jun 2019 16:00pm
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) Namibians should not be shocked if they no longer see para-athletes winning medals as all the elite athletes are reaching their prime and there is little development for young athletes.
This was said by Namibia Paralympic Committee president Johannes Litwayi during an interview with Nampa on Tuesday.
Litwayi said as one of the priority sport codes in the country, they are not fulfilling most of their core operations due to a lack of funding from the government.
We appreciate the assistance government renders in the form of transport when we travel to South Africa during that countrys national championships, but more is needed when we prepare for major competitions, he said.
He added that for the past three years they have not received any funding from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), which has hampered the way they run their yearly activities.
We usually receive N.dollars 200 000 from government which we use to pay our affiliation fees to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and we are then left with nothing in the end.
There are times the government comes on board, but that money sometimes comes on the day we are travelling to a competition, which then means our athletes do not have a training camp ahead of major competitions, he said.
The NPC president said the committee is in need of N.dollars 800 000 to run all its planned projects for 2019 and 2020.
The money will be used to prepare athletes for the 2020 Paralympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan from 25 August, the NPC national games slated for 30 and 31 August 2019 and the IPC World Athletics Championships in Dubai in November.
We have a number of athletes that made qualifying times for the world championships as well as Tokyo 2020. If we dont compete at the world champs this year, we will lose out on our slots at the 2020 Paralympic Games as our athletes will not be ranked by the IPC and will not be allowed to compete in the Paralympic Games, Litwayi said.
Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, NSC Chief Administrator Freddy Mwiya said the government has always come to the rescue of most sports in the country despite financial constraints.
He added that government usually covers all governmental games, which in the end takes the financial burden off the sport codes.
We have made provision in our budget for the NPC to compete in the 2020 All Africa Games in Morocco in January as these are governmental games and as for the Paralympic Games, that will also be covered by the government.
Mwiya said athletes going to competitions that are not governmental games and who instead want to improve on their times or to qualify for major competitions, should look for sponsorship elsewhere as the government does not have funds at the moment.
We have games like the All Africa Games, Olympics and Region Five Games that are governmental games. We are encouraging federations to start selecting the cream of the crop for competitions instead of taking all athletes, which only adds to their financial burden.