The Swakopmund Gymnastics Club (SGC) was forced to vacate its premises in December 2011 and find a new home. Several months later the club is still in search of a permanent residence in order to keep their development programs alive. The Swakopmund Football club (SFC), provided the club with temporary space at the football club’s training ground, but the club is no longer using the SFC training ground. SGC is now renting space until the end of the year from Ludwig Schroeder, by which time sufficient funds are expected to have been raised to build a permanent facility.
Committee member, Monica Gibbons, said they are still far from settling into the new space, as the club is in need of serious financial support. The envisaged premises must provide not just for training, but must also offer rooms for learners to do their homework after school. “We will move again at the end of this year as the owner will build flats at the premises we are currently using. We need to gather enough funds before school starts next year.”
The SGC submitted a proposal to the Swakopmund municipality last year to acquire a piece of land to build their premises. Gibbons says that they are still waiting for an answer, but that they are looking at other options. “It will take 5-6 years, as the procedures are too long. Maybe we will end up using tents in the future,” she laughs.
Gibbons also played down any obstacles that might jeopardise her club’s chances of success in the School’s Gymnastics Championships expected to take place at Walvis Bay Gymnastic Club in July. “We will continue with what we have, as there will be trophies for schools to be won.”
Meanwhile Dongina Risser, one of the coastal Gymnastic representatives of the Namibia Gymnastic Federation (NGF), who attended an urgent Gymnastics Namibia meeting in the capital on 18 March, said her attendance had nothing to do with the current situation at her club. “No, no, what we discussed had nothing to do with any club, but Gymnastics at large. Issues such as discipline, code of conducts and the future of the sport were discussed.” She admits though that her club is in serious need of support.
Risser appealed to people in the corporate world or sympathetic individuals who are keen to come on board to help save the oldest sports code in the world. “Did you know that the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) celebrated 125 years of its existence in 2005?” It is the oldest sports code, older even than soccer. It will be sad to see it dying.”
Two gymnasts from the Swakopmund Club and one from Tsumeb will represent Namibia in Tunis for the African championship scheduled for 9-15 April. They will be accompanied by coach Shadi Mustafa and Dongina Risser. The selected gymnasts are Tyla Liechti, Samantha-Lee Gibbons and Donnii Biewanga respectively.
Informanté has it on record that the SGC has so far managed to raise only about N$120 000, which is far short of the N$2 million needed to construct new premises for local gymnasts.