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Saturday 21 September 2019
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‘Govt is not interested in running athletics’- Kangueehi

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 9.54.48 AMFormer Athletics Namibia (AN) President Alpha Kangueehi has come out strong in reference to the recent poor performance of the Namibian athletes at the Rio 2016 Games saying government is not interested in running athletics in the country.
 
Kangueehi was at the helm of the athletics body between 2003 and 2008 but was ousted by Frank Fredericks at the elective special congress held in Otjiwarongo in 2009 and now in the leadership of Alna Similo.
 
Since the end of his tenure at the elite athletics administrative body, Kangueehi has continuously questioned the credibility of the body that has produced results beyond par on international competitions.
 
The body has been subjected to the glare of public scrutiny and has been ridiculed frequently for its inconsistency, internal strife and substandard performances and poorly planned preparation for athletes to partake in international engagements.
 
In reference to the recently concluded Rio Games, Kangueehi did not spare the body criticism saying the lack of interest from government and poor preparation of athletes is against the objective of growing athletics in the country.
 
“Lack to funding will cripple Namibian sport as a whole. The government is not interested in running athletics. We at one point had Cuban coaches in the regions who were responsible for development in the regions.
 
The government withdrew these coaches and as a result the young people are now in the dark. The AN is now only focused on the elite athletes who came through some of this programs that no longer exist,” said Kangueehi.
 
Kangueehi added that he has warned the athletic bodies two years ago against Vision 2016 that was adopted to prepare athletes for the Rio2016 Games. “It was a waste of money to start with.
 
They were only focusing on the elite athletes and to make it worse, they were preparing our athletes in accordance with the South African standards.
 
Even the South Africans do not use their own standards to prepare their athletes for the Olympics. So why do we have to spend around N$ 700 000 on some yellow jersey competition in South Africa of which athletes do not even get much from the pie?”
 
Namibian athletes in the recent Olympic games performed drastically poor. Olympic medal hopeful Jonas Junias Jonas lost in the first round while his partner Mathias Hamunyela was stopped from proceeding to the semifinals. Gaby Ahrens could not get her target to shoot through to the second round.
Female marathon runners could also not come close to a celebratory mark. Beata Naigambo took the 41st position; Helalia Johannes came 56th position, while the youngest of the Namibian trio Alina Armas was 75th.
 
Mynhardt Kaunavi ended 70th position in the Men’s Marathon. Much-celebrated Dan Craven, Michelle Vorster and Vera Adrian also failed to cycle their way to victory.
 
According to Kangueehi, the underperformance of the athletes can be linked to the poor preparation and funding at home.
“Preparation needs to start even about a year before you go to Rio. You cannot start a week and then go to Rio and expect results.
 
It is the mind, body, food, good training and a professional approach which is not in place.”
He added, “A trip to Rio can cost government about N$8 million. Of this amount, athletes get a mere US$500 and the rest goes to the delegation.
 
The delegation consists of the sport minister and the deputy plus other government official and in some cases the delegation is even more then the athletes. The minister sleeps in a hotel and all this is money being spent.
 
And we expect results?”
Kangueehi called on the government to revive development programs that seek to nurture new talent. To complement this, he also encourages the government to build facilities for young people to start training from a young age.



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