Prioritise schools sport

 

Namibia’s Olympic silver medallist Frank Fredericks is calling on sports administrators to pay more attention to school sports.

He said this on February 23 when the Frank Fredericks Foundation (FFF) handed over scholarships to the tune of N$59 000 to six talented athletes for academic and sports purposes.

Fredericks, the FFF chairperson, said his organisation has significantly contributed to the development of sports and education in the country, but a lot still need to be done.

For Namibia to have more athletes who can perform well at international event, focus should be brought back to school sports where young athletes can be groomed at an early age, he said.

The former sprinter noted that a lot of human power and capital is needed. 

“If one is to win a medal at the Olympics you need to at least spend around N$1.5 million per individual and this can be done while these athletes are still young, and when they are 24 years old then they can compete well. 

“At the moment one thing that is missing is coaches who can guide these athletes, just like how fortunate I was during my school days,” said Fredericks.

He said his teachers at the time dedicated their time training athletes after classes and study time. 

“But in today’s teachers are more focused on their curricula than training athletes after school. More talented athletes are now sourcing coaches out of their school premises and that becomes a bit of a problem, seeing that not every learner can afford to have a private coach,” he said. 

This year the FFF gave bursaries to Jhundre Eiseb for gymnastics; Sune Engelbrecht for shot put and discus; Ismael Tjiramba for 100 metres and 200 metres sprints, Gabriel Shikondi for golf; and Frankie Katanga and Vi-Ally Basson for community sports.

 “As a chairperson, I am proud that we can make a valued investment into young men and women today, who are not only talented on the sports field, but who have also resolved to pursue a sound academic career,” the legendary Fredericks beamed. 

He said there is importance in balancing education and sports, and he is proud to know that some of the recipients are pursuing studies in engineering, accounting and science.

Financial assistance by the foundation is given to learners every year in order to help them with their academic work and their sporting careers.

Fredericks noted that his foundation is proud to have made a significant contribution to the development of sports and education in the country over the past 16 years.

Their largest financial assistance of N$20 000 was given to national golfer Gabriel Shikondi from the Erongo Region, who is ranked as the country’s number one amateur golfer.

Shikondi is currently studying at the Polytechnic of Namibia, doing Introduction to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in his first year. 

“This is a big blessing, and will help me go far in my golf and academic career,” he said in thanking the foundation.

Fredericks said they are proud to have awarded Shikondi the financial assistance following a fundraising golf day hosted last October.

The foundation still has plans of hosting another fundraising golf day later this year with the aim to give more financial assistance to young talented sportspersons.

The FFF was launched in 1999.

Another beneficiary who is studying Finance and Accounting in his third year at the Lingua College is Franke Katanga, who received N$12 000. Katanga also thanked the FFF. 

“If you get an opportunity like this, one needs to use it, and we promise Frank we won’t let you down,” he noted.

13-year-old gymnast Jhundre Eiseb received N$5 000 for middle school, and Vi-Ally Basson, studying Introduction to Engineering at the Polytechnic of Namibia, received a financial boost of N$12 000. 

Ismael Tjiramba, who also received a scholarship last year, benefited again this year with N$5 000. Sune Engelbrecht received N$5 000.

Fredericks explained that Katanga and Basson’s boost comes after they have been participating in the FFF’s community development initiatives in the Babylon informal settlements in Windhoek since 2012.

The famous sprinter then called on the scholarship beneficiaries to go back to their communities and assist in community work.

Fredericks said it will be a bonus for him to see the athletes also perform well in their academic work. – NAMPA

March 2015
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