The Government of Namibia, through the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, as well as the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, have all reason to celebrate the achievements of Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi.

In fact it was the result of Government’s efforts in giving every Namibian child a chance for sporting excellence that today Mboma and Masilingi have become national heroines and world stars.

This was said by the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Ms Agnes Tjongarero at the welcoming ceremony of Namibia’s Olympics athletes who returned home yesterday.

Tjongarero said that “much conjecture has been offered with regard to the role Government played, in all of this. Especially, the exploits of the two junior athletes brought unnecessary and ill-informed criticism at the door of Government.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the minister said, “when you leave here today, I want you to know that the Government walked every step of the way, with these two junior athletes. Every young aspiring athlete that participate in school sport, does this under the watchful eye of the Namibia School Sport Union or NSSU, as it’s widely known.

“The NSSU is a Government fully-funded school sport development programme, aiming to unearth gems, such as these two junior athletes. The year 2018, was the time when these girls came to prominence, at regional level, during the regional athletics meet in Rundu.

Like every other Namibian athletes coming from disadvantaged background, they ran bare feet, and it was only through the intervention of Mr. Bronnel, that one of the them could finally run in spikes. Following, the mentioned Rundu regionals, discussions were held between the NSSU leadership and the MSYNS, which culminated in the attachment of Mr. Henk Botha to them, as coach.

“Importantly, please know that Mr. Henk Botha has always been an integral member of the NSSU family, thus the trust the MSYNS had in him.

“Additionally, since both these girl athletes were 400m runners, and the exploits of Mr. Botha in the same discipline during his heydays, he was thus considered as best suited for the task.

“From regionals, zonal, nationals and internationals athletic participation, Government walked every step of the way, with these two athletes, just like it has done with those before them, and also like it will do with the others in the future.

“Remember that Government is the sole financier for accommodation, transport and food for all the mentioned games. From the COSASA Games in Eswatini, to schooling in Walvis Bay through to schooling in Grootfontein, Government walked every step of the way with them.

“Here I need to pause and recognize the contribution of the Frank Frederick’s Foundation, which came on board to carry the funding of their schooling.

“Thus please rest assured that Government has done its part and will continue to do so, as this is only the beginning, for them.

“Additionally, I will fail in my duties, if I do not recognise the efforts of all teachers and other volunteers, who spent their afternoons on school sport grounds, imparting important skills to our budding future sport stars. This crowning moment is a testimony that your hard work is appreciated.”

In the photo: President Hage Geingob basks in the sporting glory of Christine Mboma.