Positive Vibes

IN RECENT weeks, Namibian athletes once again showed why the nation should not waver in rendering them support. The athletes enjoyed resounding success in neighbouring South Africa in several disciplines, breakingsetting a multiple of national and international records while collecting various individual accolades in the process.

To recap, a team of 21 athletes and four guides amassed a mammoth 49 medals at the SA Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Stellenbosch last week. The team won 37 gold medals, nine silver medals and three bronze medals to make its mark at the National Championships which saw the best athletes from South Africa and other Southern African countries in action.

Besides, Namibian athletes broke nine South African records while four athletes qualified to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.

Another notable performance came from the archers, who won eleven medals at the 64th Annual South African National Championships which took place at Marks Park Sports Club in Johannesburg last week.

This was an impressive display by the members of the Archery Association of Namibian (AAN), winning eight gold, two silver and one bronze medal over the course of six competition days.

Then, the Namibia Swimming Union (NASU) team won six gold and two bronze medals at the Telkom SA Level 1 championships that took place in Germiston from the 28 to 30 March.

Last, but by no means least, the meanest feat of note was that of the Under-20 national rugby team that caused a major upset at the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong on Monday when they beat the second seeded Canada 37-25 in their opening match of the tournament.

They next play Japan, who also lost their opening encounter to Uruguay, today.

While these competitions do not rank among the most prestigious and did not feature the best athletes in the world of sport, they were against formidable and much better resourced opponents, which means our athletes deserve credit for their achievements, given that our sport fraternity is cripplingly under-resourced and not the most competitive.

Namibia’s athletes, who are all part-time competitors, have had to continuously scrape together funds to enable them to seek competitive action abroad for years.

Their achievements abroad have often flattered only to deceive and this has led to a misguided negative perception about their competence by the public.

When the athletes achieve a certain margin of success, like the aforementioned, their opponents or level of competition is discredited.

It is as if Namibians take pleasure in seeing their own teams fail, forgetting that their failure is a reflection of the collective.

We need to learn to appreciate our athletes’ efforts, regardless of the scale of the competition.

In so doing, we will help them increase confidence in their ability and this will in turn only help them to improve.

Source : The Namibian