Windhoek – More than 1,600 athletes are taking part in the inaugural National Youth Games that started in Windhoek on Thursday until Saturday.
Young athletes are taking part in nine sporting disciplines out of the 57 sport codes in Namibia. These are football, netball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, judo, athletics (for para- and able-bodied male and female), swimming and boxing.
The competition, organised under the auspices of the Namibia Sports Commission, will be used to select a national Under-20 team that will represent Namibia at the upcoming African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games in Botswana in December.
Namibia Sports Commission Chief Administrator, Freddy Mwiya, told the Namibia Press Agency on Monday that the commission wants to ensure that the team to represent the country consists of athletes from all 14 regions. To ensure equal representation, the Commission had dispatched two buses to the regions to bring athletes to Windhoek for the games.
“That is why we initiated this event because these games will help us monitor as well as identify new talent,” Mwiya told the news agency.
After the successful hosting of the seventh edition of the AUSC Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games in Luanda, Gaborone was picked to host the eighth edition, which the Botswana National Sports Commission promised would be a bigger and better sporting extravagance yet to be seen in that country.
The AUSC Region 5 is one of the five regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sport under the African Union.
The AUSC is the sports arm of the African Union, whose objective is to use sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa. And Region 5 is one of the five regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sport under the auspices of the AU.
AUSC replaced the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA), under which the Region 5 was known as SCSA Zone VI. The region consists of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The SCSA was established in December 1966, as a specialised agency of the former Organization of African Unity, to coordinate sports movement and to utilise sport in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid on the continent.
The AU sees “sport as a vehicle of encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender”. – Additional reporting by Nampa