Nam gymnastics suspended from international games

Martin Endjala

Two senior Namibian gymnast athletes are pleading to the International Gymnastic Federation to
allow them to take part in the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games to represent Namibia under the FIG flag.
Namibia has been suspended from taking part in international events, because of division in the gymnastic family.

Emilia Ekandjo and Shayna Schutte, who have already qualified for the games and registered to participate in the competition have expressed their disappointment in being told that they won’t be taking part as planned.

Speaking to Windhoek Observer in an interview yesterday at the SKW gymnastic training hall in Windhoek, Ekandjo said that they have work tremendously in their training and put in hours of hard work and dedication in preparing themselves for the Commonwealth Games and are very disappointed to learn that they cannot participate.

Ekandjo stated that gymnastics is one of her hobbies that she undertakes every day after school which has turned into a sport that she dearly loves and hopes to turn it into a full time career one day. She added that their hours and hours of training was not just for nothing, pointing out that they should allowed to go and showcase their talent.

“I would like the support from our country and around the world to help us to go and participate in the Commonwealth Games and represent our country,” lamented Ekandjo.

The suspension of the Namibia Gymnastic Federation (NGF) by the Appeal Tribunal due to factions within the association of breakaway gymnastic representative body, and changed the name to Namgym, which is now recognised by FIG. However, some of the NGF board members refuse to accept the new name, prompting the suspension.

According to the FIG, international governing body, rules, no gymnastic athlete will be allowed to take part from a suspended body hence the two athletes cannot participate.

In a letter dated 18th July, FIG responded to a letter sent to it on the 12th July 2022 in which Nicolas
Boumpane, the FIG secretary general, stated that they regret, but there is nothing that they can do at this stage due to the fact, that NGf/NamGym have been suspended.

Boumpane has advised that it is up to the stakeholders involved to effectively and efficiently resolve
The internal conflict in good faith.

Athletics Namibia president Abner Axel Xoagub in response to the FIG, came to the support of the two athletes, emphasising that in events such as these, the International Olympic Committee regulations, provide options for athletes to participate under its flag.

Xoagub urges the FIG to put athletes first by letting them to participate under the FIG flag at the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games. “As per IOC and Olympic Charter and directives. As a
member of IOC we are obligated to conform to the above,” said Xoagub.

By Observer