Nam Olympians get vaccine priority
Windhoek – The Namibian National Olympic Committee (NNOC) will prioritise COVID-19 vaccination of athletes headed to the Tokyo Olympic Games this year.
The committee is also striving to ensure the athletes are in bio-secure conditions ahead of the Games, which were supposed to be held in 2020 but were postponed because of the pandemic.
Namibia has thus far secured representation in four disciplines: boxing, road cycling, rowing and athletics.
Among Namibian athletes who have qualified for the biggest multi-discipline sporting event in the world are long-distance runner Helalia Johannes, boxer Jonas Jonas, cyclists Vera Adrian and Dan Craven, and rower Maike Diekmann.
NNOC president Abner Xoagub said the International Olympic Committee had to date availed US$34,294 to assist in the upkeep and conditioning of athletes ahead of the Games.
“Our key priority for now is to make sure that we prioritise vaccination of all athletes of course we will have to do this in line with the Namibian government’s policies on the COVID-19 pandemic. We are only waiting for the vaccine to be available in the country and we can find a way forward.
“We are also part of the Namibia COVID-19 National Task Force and I am in constant touch with (Olympic) event officials to see how best we can deal with this issue” he said.
Xoagub said the Southern African country was targeting at least one gold medal at the Tokyo fiesta.
“Of course we have had to revise our targets because of the situation prevailing, but it will be important if we can finally get that gold medal which we have failed to get for a long time. I believe our athletes are pretty capable of going for it if they are given the relevant support,” he said.
The International Olympic Committee is yet to determine whether or not spectators will be allowed at the Games.