The Khomas region proved a cut above the rest during the inaugural National Youth Games, taking honours in the majority of the team and individual events of an otherwise underwhelming competition.
The games began on a wretched note last week, with several regions barely making it to Windhoek in time due to chaotic transport arrangements, while others like Kunene's youngsters spent their first night battling the cold in a mini-bus and two bakkies outside the National Youth Complex in Katutura as organisers failed to sort out their accommodation in time.
Additionally, while the youngsters from out of town had to make do with substandard living quarters, the team officials were comfortably housed at hotels.
This all made for below-par showings from many of the young hopefuls who had left the comforts of their homes to proudly represent their regions.
The organisers are expected to deliver their post-games review this week.
Over 1 800 athletes participated in football, athletics, basketball, boxing, judo, netball, swimming, tennis as well as volleyball, and they stood a chance to be selected for the national under-20 team which will represent the country at the 2018 Region Five Games that will be hosted in Botswana in December.
KHOMAS WIN NYG BASKETBALL
Khomas were crowned 2018 National Youth Games basketball champions in both male and female categories on Friday at the University of Namibia gymnasium.
Both teams finished their games without a loss, amassing maximum six points from their three games as part of the games that started in Windhoek on Thursday and ended on Saturday.
Khomas' boys beat Oshikoto 57-31 in their first match, before demolishing Otjozondjupa 60-6. They then wrapped up overall victory with a hard-earned 20-0 victory over Kavango West.
The Khomas girls, meanwhile, outclassed Otjozondjupa 100-8 in their first match, before dismissing Ohangwena 56-10. They then beat Oshikoto 81-19 to emerge victorious.
In the boys' section, Oshikoto took silver with five points, while Otjozondjupa had three points, enough to win them a bronze medal.
Kavango West got the wooden spoon for coming last with no points after failing to win a single game throughout the tournament.
In the girls' section, Oshikoto came second with four points, while Ohangwena was third with two points, and Otjozondjupa last with two points as well.
National under-20 basketball teams for both girls and boys were expected to be announced after the games.
KHOMAS BEST IN BOXING
Khomas dominated the boxing tournament, winning four of the eight gold medals on offer.
Omusati was second with two gold medals, while Ohangwena and Oshana won gold apiece on Saturday.
Matheus Ngesheya from Ohangwena was the boxer of the tournament after displaying great skill in winning the 60 kilogramme category.
Ngesheya beat a strong field on his way to the final, where he defeated Fabianus Stefanus of Oshana by a 2-1 points' victory.
The boxer of the tournament accolade was a tough decision to be made between Ngesheya and Flame Nangolo, who fought in the 56 kg category.
Nangolo from Khomas forced the match official to stop his fight against Divas Namugongo from Erongo, who had taken a lot of punishment.
Other gold medallists were Trofinus Johannes from Oshana, who beat Emmanuel Nghilongwa of Khomas in the 49kg category.
Joseph Hafeni from Khomas beat Petrus Mandume of Kunene in the 52kg division to win gold.
Petrus Mathews of Khomas produced the fight of the day when he beat an over-confident Rian Rispel from Otjozondjupa via a forced retirement in the second round of their 64kg bout.
Rispel came out guns blazing, swinging wildly but failing to connect with any meaningful punches. That left him badly exposed as he was caught by several hard punches from Mathews, forcing the referee to give Rispel an eight-count knockdown.
The second round went the same way. With Rispel clearly tired, Mathews continued to pummel him until he made a submission with a few seconds of the round remaining.
Meanwhile, three boxers were declared champions when no opponents could be found for them in their weight divisions.
Nehemia Ndilinawa and Elia Matias, both from Omusati in the 69kg and 75kg divisions, respectively, were crowned champions.
They were joined as gold medallists by the host region's Glorious Esau in the 81kg division.
THUYS, MOUTON JUDO CHAMPS
Judrihano Thuys and Courtney Mouton were crowned the best male and female judo fighters on Friday.
Thuys, fighting in the male 16-19 years (60kg) category, beat Granville Olkers to win gold and bragging rights in jujitsu.
There were over 19 winners out of a total of 40 fighters who took part in the competition.
Only two regions - Khomas and Erongo - participated in judo. Kavango East had one athlete registered for judo, but he could not take part as he was involved in another sports code during the judo competition. Namibia Judo Federation (NJF) president Roman Bock said quite a number of spectators, especially parents and friends of participants, showed up to support the competitors.
"Judo is not known in most of the regions, but we are busy with plans to spread it across the country, especially at grassroots level. The sport brings discipline to the children, and adds value to society," he added.
The NJF will roll out the sport to public schools, and have also targeted schools for the visually impaired and the hearing impaired.
Bock said they are working with the International Judo Federation to help popularise the sport in Namibia, with an international coach already in Namibia to lay the groundwork.
They are currently just waiting for equipment from Europe to distribute to public schools.
Bock, meanwhile, said the selection process of the team to participate in the Zone Five Games in Gaborone, Botswana in December will be completed soon.
KHOMAS FIRST IN FOOTBALL
Khomas also made a clean sweep of the football titles at the youth games which ended on Saturday at the Independence Stadium.
In the boys' final between Khomas and Erongo, and despite a number of scoring chances that were created by both teams, the nailbiting encounter ended goalless.
Khomas won the ensuing penalty shoot-out 5-4 to become the first champions of this youth competition. The girls' final was a more routine affair for Khomas, as they trumped Hardap 4-0 to be crowned champions.
Hardap's Yvonne Cooper got the consolation of being named the tournament's best player.
HOSTS WIN NETBALL
Khomas were crowned 2018 youth games netball champions after sailing past Kavango East in the final on Saturday afternoon at the United netball courts in Olympia.
Both finalists finished their group and semi-final games without a loss.
In the final, Khomas came out firing on all cylinders, dominating the 2018 The Namibian Newspaper Cup netball champions.
The hosts led all four quarters (11-6; 21-16; 32-22 and 43-33), increasing their lead from six to 10 points in the third quarter.
Kavango East looked tired as the game dragged on, and offered little in return to close the gap.
However, Kavango East were a little stronger in the third quarter when they had more ball possession, but missed crucial scoring opportunities when their goal attack and goal scorer found it hard to find the centre of the hoop.
The report on swimming, volleyball, tennis and athletics will be published in tomorrow's edition.
- Adapted from Nampa