The President of the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Cameroon (CNOSC) addressed the failure at the Olympics 2016. Hamad Kalkaba Malboum however reassures that lessons have been learned.
We offer you the interview he gave to Fritz Bayamack, special envoy of CRTV Radio in Rio de Janeiro. Questions are our editorial.
What is your assessment of Cameroon’s participation in the 2016 Olympics?
It’s a mixed picture. Mixed in the sense that the goal for us initially was for our athletes to get at least a medal. For several years, the goal is to go more than once on the podium during the same Olympiad because we had only one podium place for years. Our athletes are usually qualified according to the criteria. They participated, but they have not had the opportunity to go to the podium. That said, on a global level, progress has been made in certain disciplines. Including volleyball, wrestling and athletics who made a final in the shot put which was not favorable for Cameroon. Ultimately, we are not very proud of not having medals. When you go to a competition it is to win, but the spell can be contrary and this time, it was not favorable.
Cameroon returned empty-handed for the second consecutive time after 2012. How can you explain that?
I want to remind all those who want Cameroon to win medals in every edition of the Games, that Cameroon by winning its medals, apart from 2000, 2004 and 2008 which were consecutive victories with me as president of the CNOSC, that from 1968 to 1984, we experienced a slump. Same also from 1984 to 2000. That is to say that it’s not every day that we have a good harvest. There are seasons that bring more opportunities, some less and some not at all. In addition, the logic of sport has it that in a competition, there are two only outcomes: either you win or you suffer a defeat.
Some observers speak of poor preparation
Preparation is a complex fact. The CNOSC is supported by the International Olympic Committee through the awarding of six scholarships, two before the opening of the Olympics. We have the data. But we also believe that besides the support of the IOC, the State of Cameroon can provide support. An agreement was signed in 2014. But given the situation, the funds came after more than a year. Meanwhile, the data in place for the selection changed. So we had to wait for the All Africa Games in Brazzaville. Back, the best were selected to be prepared. Moreover, the preparation begins at the national federations in connection with the confederations. Some organized their qualifications late (weightlifting, boxing). All this reduced the actual preparation time. But to prepare for the Olympics, one must participate in several tournaments, training centers in high-level etc. We did not have all this data. But this does not prevent us from going to the podium, since in the final preparation, we sent our athletes in specialized centers. Volleyball in Brazil, boxing in Ukraine, fighting in Senegal and Ivory Coast. Remember that there is an important factor, the talent of each athlete.
What are your plans for the future?
As it was the case in London, we will learn from this expedition, hoping that the decisions that we receive will be applied. It takes proper planning. It is useless to plan without adequate resources or enough qualified coaches. Only major powers had medals. Very few African countries had. We, in the past, we did, but it can happen that we do not have medals. We must look at things clearly.