We need to invest in our athletes: Karumendu

OMARURU: Namibia needs to invest in its athletes to avoid a repeat of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where the country did not win any medals.

This was said by the sports officer in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture for Omaruru in the Erongo Region, Berthold Karumendu on Saturday.

More than 20 teams of athletes from schools around Namibia converged on Omaruru on Saturday for a one-day mini-Olympic event. The event was held to celebrate Olympic Day, which is celebrated all over the world on 23 June every year.

It was also aimed at motivating local athletes to realise the importance of participating in Olympic Games in future.

Karumendu told Nampa during the event that Namibia should be willing to invest a lot of money and resources in its athletes if it is to see champions at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and the 2018 All Africa Games in Algeria.

“This is not child’s play. Look at the first world countries like Canada, England, and America, they put a lot of money into sport and get results at the end of the day,” he said.

He added that most of the athletes taking part in the mini-Olympics in Omaruru are under the age of 13, and come 2018, most of them will be able to represent the country.

“What we need to do as a nation is to start selecting athletes who are performing at youth level and invest in them. This is like sending your own child to an expensive school or university. At the end of the day you expect them to perform, and if we do that for the best performing athletes, come 2016 or 2018, they will perform at the same standard as their counterparts from all over the world,” he said.

Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) Secretary-General Joan Smit seconded Karumendu’s statement, telling the young athletes during the opening ceremony of the event at the Luna Park sport field that their time has come to compete and become the next Frankie Fredericks at the 2016 Olympics.