LONDON – Competing against the best athletes in the world, Namibian Olympians found the going tough and dismally failed to make an impact at the just-ended 2012 London Olympics, though few achieved personal milestones.
The line Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo, said it is now time to evaluate Namibia’s overall performances and try to learn from the winners. “Just take a look at the Russian wrestler who defeated Sem Shilimela and went on to win gold or the shottist who trounced Gaby Ahrens and shattered the world record – those are what we call the best in the world and we need to applaud ourselves for the gallant showing we displayed against athletes of that caliber,” said the outspoken lawmaker.
He further advised that Namibia must willingly open itself up for introspection and self criticism, and to start asking ourselves whether our coaches are given enough time to prepare and whether we, as a nation, are really behind our athletes. Kazenambo emphasized that experience and adequate preparation play a crucial role in the overall success of athletes.
“Pertinent government funding and full support from the private sector play a vital role in the overall preparation of athletes, that’s why Great Britain, who finished 3rd on the overall medals table behind the USA and China, invested about 100 million Pounds in their preparation, while the UK government pledged an investment of 125 million pounds per year to prepare for Rio 2016.
Namibia’s athletes, by contrast, received N$400 000 from the FNB Foundation and some more funds from the Government, but it was just a drop in the ocean compared to that of Great Britain and other leading nations. The level of competition was extremely high with several world records tumbling in athletics and swimming. Namibia’s debutants Tjipee Herunga (23) and 21-year-old Sem Shilimela, have gained valuable experience and hope to put it to good use in the future.
Marc Bassingthwaighte achieved his goal of a top 30 finish in the Men’s Mountain Bike event, while Helalia Johannes smashed the Namibian record by more than a minute to finish 12th overall in the Women’s Marathon.
In boxing, Mejandjae Kasuto won his first bout before being eliminated in his 2nd fight, while rookie boxer Jonas Matheus failed to negotiate his way past the first round of bouts. Beata Naigambo had to be satisfied with an overall 38th at her 2nd attempt in the Olympics in the women’s marathon and Gaby Ahrens held the wooden spoon with a disappointing 22nd in the Women’s Olympic Trap, while tragedy halted Dan Craven’s progress after the bearded cyclist crashed out of the Men’s Cycling Road Race.