“As much as government funding is a challenge, the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) will not use it as an excuse for not developing sport,” said the commissions’ Chief Administrator Freddy Miwya at the launch of the first ever National Youth Games in Namibia to be hosted from 1-9 May in the capital.
A total of 1800 athletes from 14 regions will be expected to participate in the multidisciplinary spectacular in 10 sport codes.
The launch was done in the wake of the National Budget announcement which saw another deep cut into the sport ministry. Subsequently, the sport fraternity will have to roll up its sleeves to survive another financial year with shallow pockets.
This is due to a N$97 million slash to the sport sector announced by the finance minister this week during the announcement of the National Budget. The ministry last year received N$385 million. Mwiya however shook off the cuts saying it does not affect the games and that they will look out for complimenting alternatives.
“We take what we received and there is nothing we can do at the moment. Our source of income for the games is primarily from corporate Namibia. The corporate world knows how financially prudent we are at the NSC and we are aggressive in our efforts to sell sports.
“The budget cut does not in any way affect the youth games. When the economy is not doing well, we should understand and find other alternatives to get things going. This is why we are very aggressive with approaching corporate Namibia to support the causes,” said Mwiya.
Mwiya said that after 28 years of independence, this event is long overdue without a multidisciplinary sport event locally, hence the birth of the idea. The event will cater for the need to produce athletes of elite level, saying “hence youth sport development cannot be compromised.”
The Commission under Mwiya’s leadership recently undertook regional trips to sensitize the regional heads of the initiative which they reciprocally pledged their support. The regional sport administrations have committed to support the games in preparing representative teams with logistical costs. The NSC Chairperson Joel Mathews applauded the work of the NSC and the line ministry saying the launch of the games is a beginning a great sporting journey.
“We are not only launching the Namibia National Youth Games first ever edition but we are also launching a new milestone for the future of sport in Namibia. We are starting a new path at which we would like to create opportunities for our young sportsmen/women,” said Mathews.
Participating athletes will be housed at identified school hostels in order to cut costs on the unspecified budget. The games will be used to select the Namibian Under-20 team that will represent the country at the Zone Six games in Botswana in December.