THE president of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, Abner Xoagub, has called for more investments if Namibia wants to maintain its presence as a medallist on the world’s global sporting stage.
Christine Mboma’s silver medal in the women’s 200m at the Tokyo Olympics placed Namibia 77th overall out of the 205 countries that participated and amongst the 13 of 54 African nations that won medals in Tokyo. In the SADC region, Namibia was one of only three nations to medal, with the others being South Africa and Botswana.
While describing it as a great achievement, Xoagub said more investment was needed if they wanted to maintain their momentum.
“This is a great achievement for us after such a long silence – we must work hard now to increase our medal tally, but we can only win if we receive investment for the future. It is possible to get more medals, but we can’t do it alone, we need more support,” he said.
“The preparations for 2024 have already started, but we need funds now to prepare and qualify. We hope that with the private sector realising what sport can do, they will be more forthcoming and support us,” he added.
Xoagub said their total expenses amounted to N$4,3 million, which well exceeded their funds.
“Namdia came on board to help the team as the main sponsor with a N$661 980 sponsorship, which made it possible for the team to travel to Tokyo.
The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service contributed about N$900 000, but it was not on time – we received it on the way to Tokyo and there are still invoices outstanding that we must settle,” he said.
“We wrote to institutions since 2018 already looking for partners, but they did not come on board. Now after our success in Tokyo, I hope and plead with the private sector to come on board,” he added.
Xoagub thanked all the people who worked behind the scenes, like the parents, coaches, trainers, managers, and employers who gave them leave, as well as the Namibia National Olympic Committee and Namibia’s chef de mission in Tokyo, Dawie Augustyn.
“Dawie spent four years coordinating the whole process, and worked intensively for the last two years so it was not easy, but he worked tirelessly and was dedicated to his job. I’d also like to thank Joan Smit and Anna Wimmert of the Namibian Olympic Committee for their hard work,” Xoagub said.
“In Tokyo we were complimented as a well-organised and structured team. We had a small team, but as they say, dynamite comes in small packages,” he added.
Xoagub thanked several other institutions for their financial support including the International Olympic Committee, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (Anoca), the Frank Fredericks Trust and the Davin Trust.
He also praised Namibian cyclist Dan Craven who eventually missed out on competing in Tokyo due to Covid-19, but still managed to secure a sponsorship of cycling gear from Rapha Performance Roadwear for Namibia’s road cyclists at the 2016 as well as 2020 Games.
Xoagub said they needed more officials and technical experts to assist the athletes.
“We often get criticised for taking more officials than athletes along, but they play a very important role and we need more technical people to help the athletes. We saw the challenges that Helalia Johannes had at the water points, so we need people around the athletes who can make a difference,” he said.
“I’d also like to thank the President of Namibia for welcoming us and handing over the national flag – he sent the athletes off as ambassadors of this country and asked them to do their best which they did. They put us on the global map, so I’m sure he’s happy,” he added.