AFRICAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEES SUPPORT PROCEEDING WITH OLYMPICS IN 2020, SAYS NAMIBIA CHIEFTAIN

The President of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC), Abner Xoagub, has claimed that his counterparts from the other African Olympic Committees support the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stance of proceeding with the Tokyo 2020 Games this summer.

Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, Xoagub said that all the African Olympic Committees backed the International Olympic Committee’s stance to continue preparing for the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead as currently scheduled, reports The Namibian.

“All the African Olympic Committees had a conference call with the IOC President for an update on the situation on Wednesday and all the members supported the motion to proceed with the Games,” Xoagub said.

“The IOC encourages all athletes to continue preparing for the Olympic Games so we need to support them and will consult with them, their coaches and their federations as well as medical staff to make sure that they adhere to the directives.

“To date, 57 per cent of the athletes are already qualified for the Games. 

“For the remaining 43 per cent of places, the IOC will work with the international federations, to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020.

“The possibility remains to use existing and scheduled qualification events, wherever these still have fair access for all athletes and teams.”

At the briefing, Xoagub also confirmed details of Namibia’s road cyclists for this summer’s Games, should they proceed as planned.

“We had a meeting with the Namibian Cycling Federation, and after going through their performances at the qualifying events, Vera Adrian and Dan Craven have been selected to represent Namibia at the Olympics in road cycling, with Martin Freyer selected as a reserve to Dan,” he said.

A total of five Namibian athletes have now qualified for Tokyo 2020, with Adrian and Craven joining rower Maike Diekmann, boxer Jonas Jonas and marathon athlete Helalia Johannes.

Other Namibian athletes well placed to qualify for this summer’s Games are marathon runner Reinhold Thomas, wrestler Romeo Goliath, swimmers Phillip Seidler and Alexander Skinner, mountain bike riders, Tristan de Lange and Alex Miller, karatekas Suxelle Pronk and Freddy Mwiya Junior and athlete Beatrice Masilingi.

Secretary general of the NNOC Joan Smit provided an update on how the above athletes were faring in the race to secure spots for this summer’s Olympics.

“Reinhold’s qualifying event was cancelled, so the International Association of Athletics Federations will now make a decision based on his performance at the World Championships last year,” Smit said.

“Romeo’s final qualifying event has also been cancelled, but he did very well at the African Championships in Algiers, so we are hopeful that he will qualify.

“The qualifying events for both Phillip and Alexander are due to take place in May, so hopefully that can still go ahead.

“Swimmers and athletes, in fact, can still qualify until June, so there is still time for them and our top athletes like Beatrice.

“Suzelle and Freddy’s karate qualifying event has been cancelled, but hopefully it can be rescheduled, while Michelle Vorster has a 99 per cent chance of qualifying – she has been competing in Spain recently to improve her world ranking.

“The qualifying races for the men’s mountain bike spot have been cancelled, but we will continue to monitor that situation.”

-insidethegames