The inaugural Namibia National Youth Games which will see an estimated 1 800 athletes competing in 10 sport codes in Windhoek in May, was launched at the Namibia National Sport Commission on Wednesday.
The chief administrator of the NSC, Freddy Mwiya said the idea was introduced by the NSC board last year.
"Now, 28 years after independence, a multi-disciplinary sports event is long overdue, and I'm delighted that my board of directors, together with management, crafted a well focussed document that gives priority to the start of the national youth games this year," he said.
"We all understand that to produce athletes of elite level, youth sports development cannot be compromised. It is no secret that funding from the state will remain a challenge for years to come, but this cannot be an excuse for why this dream cannot be put into action," he added.
The chairperson of the NSC, Joel Matthews said the NSC undertook regional visits to all 14 of Namibia's regions between 14 January and 15 February this year where the idea was discussed with sports officers, convenors and other sport stakeholders in the regions.
"Regions under the leadership of regional governors pledged their support towards the national games in terms of logistical arrangements, ie. transport, team attire and support during regional trials," he said.
"Constituency councillors were present in most of the meetings with governors and at the workshops, conducted by the NSC in the regions," he added.
The inaugural Youth Games for athletes under 20 will be held in Windhoek from 10 to 13 May, with the official launch due to take place at Windhoek's Independence Stadium.
Athletes will compete in a total of 10 sport codes namely football, netball, volleyball, basketball, boxing, tennis, judo, athletics and para-athletics, swimming.
Besides the Independence Stadium, some of the other venues that will be used to host the tournament include the University of Namibia, the NFA technical centre and the Olympia Swimming pool.
According to Manuel Carballo, head of the marketing division of the NNYG local organising committee, the objectives of the games included the following:
Bringing Namibia's youth closer together through a common interest in sportsmanship and competition.
To promote a unique, friendly world-class competition and to develop sport for the benefit of the youth of Namibia, the regions and all the communities of the nation.
To encourage and assist sport and to promote the shared values of the Olympic Games, integrity, fair play, competence, commitment to excellence, respect for gender equality and tolerance, including the fight against the use of drugs in sport, and of unhealthy or performance enhancing substances.
And to facilitate the selection and development of sport talent identification from grassroots level towards international participation.
Mwiya said the aim of the Games was also to identify and prepare young athletes to compete in the SADC Region Five Youth Games, with this year's event due to take place in Botswana towards the end of the year.
He said the number of codes could increase in the future, but the initial 10 codes that were selected, coincided with the codes that compete at the Region 5 Games.
Carballo said they had made presentations to several companies who had shown an interest in sponsoring the games, and called on other companies to get involved. Carballo can be contacted at 0812387738.