Five Namibian athletes have received bursaries from the International Olympic Council’s development fund, Olympic Solidarity to help them prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Making the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday, the secretary general of the Namibia Olympic Committee, Abner Xoagub said that the athletes would be put on intensified training programmes at high performance centers to prepare them optimally for the 2012 Olympic Games.
There are two athletes, namely sprinters Dantago Gurirab and Merlyn Diamond, two wrestlers in Sem Shilimela and Angula Shikongo and one swimmer in Daniela Lindemeier.
“At this stage we dont have a single name of an athlete who has qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games yet, but we have to start preparing, so we spoke to the sport federations and received the names of potential athletes. We applied for six scholarships from the IOC but eventually they approved five of these. These athletes will receive top class training at high performance centres - the athletes will be based in Mauritius and the wrestlers in Senegal, while we must still determine where the swimmer will go,” he said.
Xoagub said that, as part of their preparations, the athletes will compete in international competitions where they will try and qualify for the Olympics.
Xoagub said they received special funding from the IOC amounting to US$175 000 which will go towards supporting some of the sport federations in Namibia.
“We want to help our federations to host more competitions, and to expand their development programmes so that they can identify new talent.
An amount of N$100 000 was handed over to the Namibia Rugby Union to assist them in hosting a Sevens Rugby Tournament in Walvis Bay from Thursday, 18 November to Saturday 20 November. Xoagub said that Sevens Rugby had been accepted as a sport code for the 2012 Olympic Games and they would try to assist the Namibian team to qualify.
An amount of N$25 000 was awarded to the Namibia Gymnastics Federation whch will send a team to the Zone 6 Gymnastics Championships in Harare, Zimbabwe from 8 to 12 December.
An amount of N$50 000 was awarded to the Namibia Volleyball Federation which will host the African Beach Volleyball qualifying tournament for the 2011 All Africa Games in Windhoek in March 2011.
Meanwhile Xoagub announced that Namibia would also participate in the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games which will be held in the Isle of Man in September 2011. Dawie Augustyn, who is the president of the Namibia Wrestling Federation and a Namibia Olympic Committee excom member has been appointed as the Chef de Mission, while another NNOC excom member Quinton Steele Botes will be the team manager.