The sport of wrestling continues to be hamstrung by the lack of sponsorship, Namibia Wrestling Federation (NWF) Secretary General, Johannes Homateni, said last Saturday during the federation’s prize giving ceremony held at the After School Center in Windhoek.
Homateni said it has proved to be a challenge to develop the sport across the country’s 14 regions due to inadequate funding.
The other challenge facing NWF is the shortage of referees.
Namibia Wrestling Federation is affiliated to the United World Wrestling (UWW), which is the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling.
“The federation is trying its best to develop wrestling throughout the country with the assistance of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service as well as from the United World Wrestling, although there are various challenges such as funding,” Homateni said.
“We previously received funding from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), but no funds were received this year after the ministry’s budget was cut. We used to get up to N$20,000 annually, but this year, we made use of the affiliation fees from clubs.”
There are only five NWF affiliated amateur wrestling clubs with 250 registered wrestlers.
Clubs pay the federation N$500 yearly in affiliation fees and they in turn get funding from wrestlers who pay N$250 annually.
“We also receive support from individuals. UWW provides us with wrestling mats. One such mat can cost N$70,000. Last weekend, the ministry assisted wrestlers with transport to come to the national championships,” Homateni said in an interview with the Windhoek Observer.
This year, NWF hosted an international wrestling coaching clinic in Windhoek, in which local coaches from all the 14 regions were trained in order for them to develop the sport in their respective regions.
“The coaching clinic was made possible by Olympic Solidarity, Namibia National Olympic Committee as well as the NSC. Currently, we need assistance from private entities in various regions to help with the provision of indoor venues as well as wrestling mats to help the sport code to develop in all regions. The UWW pays for experts when they come to Namibia,” Homateni said.
Despite the financial constraints, NWF says it has had a successful year with some wrestlers putting Namibia on the world map.
Festus Asino came in seventh place at the world championship cadet held in Greece.
He also won a bronze medal at the Africa Championship in Nigeria, a gold medal at the South African Championship and a bronze medal at the African Youth Games in Algeria.
A cadet is a wrestler that is below 17 years of age.
Asino will move into the junior category next year when he turns 18.
Romio Goliath also had a successful year after winning a gold medal at the South African Championship in the junior category and a silver medal at the African Championship in Nigeria.
Lukas Thomas also won gold at the South African Championship in the senior category.