Beacon of hope for Namibia

07 June 2021 | Sports

Limba Mupetami

When you hear the names Beatrice Masilingi, Christine Mboma, Helalia Johannes, Jonas Junias, Michelle Vorster, Tristan de Lange, Dan Craven and so many more, you must know that Namibia has arrived at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

These names are a beacon of hope for the country; a ray of light; the crème de la crème. The toast of the party, to say the least.

Namibia currently is a country torn between corruption, poverty, homophobia, German reparation talks as well as the harsh effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But when you look at the group of Namibian athletes gearing up for Tokyo, all I see is resilience, unity and the solidarity of humankind. This is what I hope the athletes will echo when they compete at the Games.

This and so much more, to give Namibia just that extra push to get better as a country and to be happy, even just for a little while.

Some of these athletes have no sponsorship, unlike their South African counterparts.

They don’t have state-of the-art equipment to train with, but one thing is for certain - where there’s will, there’s way and there will be an upset at the Games.

I think at this point in time, Namibia has a great team. Perhaps the Games being delayed was a blessing in disguise for our athletes, seeing as Masilingi and Mboma came out of the woodwork with their dashing record-breaking runs just recently.

Namibia surely has talent and we can compete at the world stage. Despite carrying the underdog title, I believe the potential is definitely there.

All they need is a little push. Talking about pushing, I hope that the corporate world is watching and keeping tabs on these athletes.

I hope the likes of Old Mutual, Nedbank, First National Bank of Namibia, Bank Windhoek, Standard Bank, Cymot, Pupkewitz, Woermann Brock are watching.

I know Namibia has a culture of ignoring sports stars until they hear that these individuals have won something. Classic example of Johanna Benson when she won gold and became the first Paralympic gold medallist in Namibia's history. That’s when corporates started dishing out money. She earned it, but imagine how much more one can do if support starts from grassroots level.

With that, I don’t want to see people - and I mean certain ministers - jumping into pictures shamelessly when these athletes return with medals.

The only official I have seen around so far is the vice president of Namibia, Nangolo Mbumba, who supported the athletes with running shoes.

For those who have the means and are sitting idle, open those pockets! See the athletes now, support them now.

In their respective sports codes, the athletes will take on the some of the best in the world, with more than 10 000 athletes from 200 countries and regions set to travel to Tokyo.

Although the debate about cancelling the Olympics because of Covid-19 concerns has continued to heat up, seeing the Games take place will be a delight for many.

I certainly wish I could attend, but in this Covid-19 climate, it’s probably not ideal for myself or the organisers, who are trying to calm locals who are at the moment panicking about the safety of the event. But whatever happens, let’s approach the safety aspect of the Games carefully. To the athletes, safety is your first priority, from now till the end of the Games. Make us proud.

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