The fragile financial backbone of the sport ministry is starting to show.
This is after executive director in the sports ministry, Audrin Mathe, yesterday said government will provide limited funding towards Team Namibia’s participation in next month’s Olympics.
Mathe explained the ministry had several meetings with the leadership of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) and at those meetings, made it clear that they are only able to cater for the athletes’ accommodation, flights and attire, but only after getting the final number of athletes who have qualified for the Olympics from the NNOC.
“We have not refused to fund our athletes and officials going to the Olympics. What we have said is that government can only commit itself to limited funding for things such as accommodation, flights and attire. At our various meetings with the NNOC, we made our position clear to them. We also said to them that we will only be able to release the funds once we have the final number of athletes that have qualified for the games.”
His comments follow a statement by NNOC secretary general, Joan Smith, who said the poor communication from the sports ministry regarding Team Namibia’s funding for participation in next month’s Olympics is a concern.
Smith said days are running out and there is still no formal commitment or communication from the line ministry regarding funding towards the athletes and officials’ participation in the Olympics set for 23 July to 8 August in Tokyo, Japan.
“To be quite honest with you, the NNOC has not received funding from the ministry at this point in time. We did have several meetings with the executive director and also the minister, but to date, there has been no formal written communication from the office of the executive director, not even from the Namibia Sports Commission,” said Smith.
She said the NNOC has not heard from the sport ministry after the meetings they had about two weeks ago, and as it stands, they have not received any funding for the Olympic Games.
“We are just waiting on them,” Smith told this publication.
Mathe further said athletes are still trying to qualify for the Olympics.
“So, on what basis should we release the funds if we do not yet have the final number of qualified athletes? There is no issue there; we have not refused our athletes (funding). We have not said there is no money,” said Mathe.
Athletes who have so far qualified are sprinters Beatrice Masilingi, Christine Mboma, veteran marathoner Helalia Johannes, long-distance runner Tomas Rainhold, boxer Jonas Junias Jonas, cyclist Vera Adrian, cyclist Dan Craven and rower Maike Diekman.