Namibia trims karate national team

sportsrIn a bid to save on costs, the Namibia Karate Union (NAKU) is set to select a reduced number of karatekas that will represent the country at the Region 5 Karate Championships, slated to take place from 23 to 25 June in Maputo, Mozambique.
Namibia finished third overall at the 2016 Region 5 Karate Championships held in Zimbabwe in June last year, with its 36 athletes winning six gold, seven silver and 17 bronze medals.
Without revealing the extent of the cuts to the national team, NAKU President, Cornelius D’Alton, said in an interview this week that this will become clear once the final selection has been concluded later this week.
D’Alton said that because of the cost implications, NAKU would try to select a competitive team that could win medals.
“As a member of the national team, one is representing Namibia, and we need to make sure that the top athletes, whom we regard as medal contenders, represent the country.
“If we are able to secure funding from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), we have an obligation to Namibian citizens to ensure that we are not wasting taxpayers’ money.
“Just because an athlete is financially able to travel, does not mean the athlete is good enough to compete,” D’Alton told the Windhoek Observer this week.
Team trials were held at the Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate Namibia dojo in Windhoek last weekend, where 119 karatekas came together from the Erongo, Khomas, Oshana, Ohangwena and Kavango regions.
“We have not calculated the costs yet (for the Region 5 champs), as we need to determine the size of the team first.  Once we know how many athletes have been selected, we will begin to enquire about transport and accommodation, to plan the logistics of the trip.
“Every country is allowed to enter two athletes, per championship category, which comes to 132 athletes, based on the 2016 categories,” D’Alton said.
“While the selectors have had some discussion about the team composition, the results of last weekend still need to be compiled and distributed to the selectors, in order for them to finalise the team nominations.
“Our team will contain a mix of male and female athletes, and a good balance between children, cadets, juniors, under-21s and senior athletes.
“We have a lot of depth in terms of our younger athletes, who we hope we can retain and train to become competitive U-21 and senior athletes.”
D’Alton thanked Paratus Telecom for sponsoring their website and Conselect Engineering for sponsoring the annual Union of African Karate Federations (UFAK) affiliation fees.
He also applauded the NSC and the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, as well as other stakeholders, who had assisted where they could over the years, with transport and other team needs.