The Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) primarily depends on funding from the Olympics Solidarity wing of the International Olympic Committee and other sponsors to assist athletes to qualify for Olympic games.
NNOC secretary general Joan Smit said these grants are indeed very helpful for the committee, seen in the light that government has reduced its budget allocation to the sport ministry, which has a negative impact on sports development.
“All cost involved in preparing our athletes to qualify for Olympic events are sponsored by the committee – and at this stage, we already qualified eight athletes for the upcoming event in Tokyo (Japan),” she said during the Keetmanshoop Game Changers event on Saturday.
Smit added that karate, gymnastics and swimming still have opportunities to qualify until 29 June 2021.
Smit reasoned that Namibia is doing quite well in terms of qualification among the 206 selected countries, based on the fact that some other small countries on the globe do not have qualified athletes to date.
“It takes athletes up to four years to prepare for qualification for the Olympic games and the sad reality is that we cannot provide our athletes adequate international exposure in the process due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, especially in European countries now experiencing the third wave of the Coronavirus.”
She then referred to the boxing world cup that was cancelled.
“Regretfully, due to these restrictive Covid-19 regulations, we cannot expose our athletes internationally for qualification, forcing them to wait for another four years before being granted the opportunity to compete internationally – and this denies us definite medals.”
The 2020 Olympics are slated for 23 July to 8 August 2021, while the Paralympic games will take place from 24 August to 5 September 2021.
In addition, the next Commonwealth Games will take place from 27 July 2021 to 7 August 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.