Does Kambaekwa Have an Agenda?

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ALLOW ME space in your esteemed newspaper to reply to an article that appeared in your paper on Friday 2 December. The article was written by columnist Carlos Kambaekwa under the headline, “Those were the days my friends”. In his column your writer mourns the retirement from the track of Frank Fredericks and goes on to compare his bygone era with the current one and continues by attacking the current crop of athletes and officials – myself in particular. Apart from writing the obvious fact that Frank Fredericks has now retired from athletics everything that your writer wrote about is everything but factual and a heap of lies disguised as a news report meant to discredit our athletes in particular and Namibian athletics in general. It would have helped your writer if he had sought to crosscheck his fantasies with myself or with any other member of the executive committee before presenting them to the nation as facts. Such kind of irresponsible journalism stinks and should be condemned in the strongest possible manner as it creates unnecessary panic and despondency among athletes and indeed the nation as a whole. Your writer charges that Athletics Namibia submitted a provisional list of 15 athletes that will represent Namibia in next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia minus Beata Naigambo who the writer claims to have had a fallout with athletics bosses, however a quick look at the provisional list that Athletics Namibia submitted to the Olympics Committee will reveal that there are 18 athletes on that list and Beata Naigambo’s name appears on that list, so I wonder which list is your writer referring to. Your writer goes on to cry foul about the absence of long distance runner Luketz Swartbooi who is also on the provisional list albeit not for long. Swartbooi’s name is certainly going to be removed from the provisional list, as he has been found guilty of using a banned substance in a race in which he participated in South Africa. According to a document in my possession faxed by Linda Ferns who is the secretary general of South African athletics, Swartbooi tested positive to a banned substance and as part of Athletics Namibia’s zero tolerance on the use of performance enhancing drugs we will be writing to the Namibian Sports Commission as well as the Olympic Committee informing them about his suspension. Christie van Wyk sealed his fate when he decided not to show up at the Helsinki Championships early this year. After his no-show, Van Wyk never bothered to give any explanation about his absence and as such he will not be considered for selection. Athletics Namibia wishes to reiterate that athletes that are not disciplined and unpatriotic will not be tolerated and Van Wyk’s case, it is hoped, will act as a warning to all other up and coming youngsters. For the record, I would also want to state that Kapena Rukero was injured whilst at training and his injury was witnessed by a number of athletes and officials. We categorically deny that the injury was “sustained through the usual dog eats dog township lifestyle” that the writer refers to. Your writer also completely lost the plot when he inferred that the Walvis Bay meeting was used as a yardstick for the Commonwealth Games. The Walvis Bay competition is part of our annual regional competition that is on our calendar of events, which is readily available to all journalists. Why your writer chose to call this annual competition a yardstick for the Commonwealth Games boggles the mind and is a clear example of ignorance on the part of the writer on how athletics is organized and administered in this country. Mr Editor, such kind of ignorant journalism should and must not be associated with an esteemed newspaper like yours. Given the inaccuracies and misinformation in the column one is tempted to believe that the writer was driven by malice and is a man who seems to have an axe to grind with the current executive of Athletics Namibia for reasons best known to himself. Before mourning about the death of Namibian athletics your writer should have done his homework on his subject before rushing to print. Since the writer seems to be displaying an apparent ignorance on what is going on in Namibian athletics let me inform him that our junior policy has been successful ever since I was elected president of athletics Namibia last November. During the inaugural mini grand prix and the Southern African Youth Championships held early this year Namibia came second in all two competitions. In the latter competition 14 countries participated so the result was no mean feat. Your writer should be advised that the provisional list submitted to the Olympic Committee is, as the name suggests, only temporary and not final, meaning athletes can still be screened on that list until we come up with the final list of deserving and competitive athletes early next year. In view of the above fact we have planned two competitions next year that will fine-tune our athletes for the Commonwealth Games. The first competition will be held in Windhoek on January 20 and another competition is scheduled for Maun, Botswana where our athletes will be competing against athletes from three Southern African countries who will also be using the competition to fine-tune their athletes ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Mr Editor, please let no one use your esteemed newspaper in pursuit of his or her hidden agendas in the name of journalism. If any reporter wishes to write about what is going on in Namibian athletics our offices are open at any time and it is our duty to provide any relevant information that journalists might so need. Lets all rally behind our athletes and give them all the necessary support ahead of the Commonwealth Games instead of discouraging them through irresponsible reporting that benefit no one but their selfish writers. Alpha Kangueehi – President: Athletics Namibia

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