Sports minister Agnes Tjongarero has hailed the grown and importance of the MTC Namibia Youth Games but said more needs to be done to ensure the country has a steady talent retention programme in place to compliment the youth games.
Tjongarero made the remarks during the launch of this year’s edition of the youth games on Monday in the capital, where she again emphasised the importance of establishing a senior championship/games that will act as a talent retention pathway for the country’s athletes.
Through the establishment of a senior version of the national youth games, Tjongarero believes athletes will be kept in a chain-like programme that will see them graduate from the youth games to becoming star participants in the senior version of the national games and through such as an uninterrupted pathway, top local talents will not be lost to national selectors as they would remain in a free-flowing nurturing process.
“I wish to encourage the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to look into the possibilities of coming up with senior games to ensure continuity in sport, and also to make sure that we don’t leave these juniors where they finished off. They must become a senior group and represent us at all other levels. If we leave them here, it means we are just wasting resources, energy and everything we have put in or invested in [the youth games]. The senior games will serve a great purpose in advancing and advocating for inclusivity by providing opportunities to all Namibians to unleash their talents,” said Tjongarero.
“…the ministry and the NSC with the sister partner the Namibia Olympic Committee and affiliates plan to introduce senior games in the future to ensure that team Namibia is well prepared for the 2023 African Games, 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2024 Olympic Games.”
This year’s youth games are slated for Rietfontein in the Otjozondjupa region on 16-18 December and will be the first edition of the event to be hosted by the region. The games will be hosted at Rietfontein’s National Youth Training Centre and various selected venues in Grootfontein. Athletes will compete in eight sport codes, namely football, netball, volleyball, basketball, boxing, tennis, athletics and para-athletics.