International Competitions: Visionary Planning Is Necessary

Cameroon, like other countries, is bracing up to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games billed for Paris from July 26 - August 11. Unlike other partakers whose flagbearers are already known and finalising preparations to be ready for the medal conquest when the prestigious competition begins, Cameroon at moment can only boast of a handful of qualified athletes. Though very slim, hopes are still on other qualifying tournaments to add to the few already qualified athletes like Sarah Hamffou (table tennis), Emmanuel Eseme (sprint) and Geogika Wesly Djengue (-78 kg Judo). How many Cameroonian athletes could still pick the qualification tickets and how ready they may be for the competition in July remains mindboggling, especially for a rendezvous reserved exclusively for the world’s best athletes.
The upcoming Olympic Games, like other international competitions, are never planned overnight. In fact, it holds after every four years. This implies that the end of one competition announces the start of the next and preparations are supposed to begin, for organisers and aspiring participating countries and athletes, as soon as curtains drop on the previous edition. This lesson doesn’t seem to have been well assimilated by the entire sports movement in Cameroon. The fact that the country is still struggling to have representatives less than two months to the start of a competition like the Olympic Games is suggestive of loopholes, raising questions that beg for answers. Was and or is there a vision for the Games? What have the federations been doing to get the athletes meet up with the qualification requirements of the competition? Who is supposed to oversee the apt groundwork to the competition in terms of qualification and preparation of athletes? Answers, if any, may be far-fetched looking at the situation at hand, with little prospects of anything better anytime soon. Strikingly, sports is one of the domains where the quality of an athlete is seen on the pitch and not in speeches. 
Meanwhile, it was known to all the stakeholders that athletes will be able to qualify in two ways for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: 50 per cent of qualification places based on achieving the entry standard for an event within the qualification period and the other 50 per cent based on the World Athletics Ranking within the classification period. This passes through winning the World Championships in the Olympic category, grabbing required points during continental qualification competitions or Olympic qualifying tournaments. 
Most Cameroon’s athletes in both the collective and individual sports certainly failed to secure qualification in World Championships for some and inadequate points for others during continental competitions.  This explains why the country is still hoping for last-minute qualification through the Olympic qualifying tournaments which are the last resort. This alone tells of the level of effectiveness of the athletes and how well the few ones who would be fit for the games will perform in Paris. Fowls fed on market days hardly get the required weight!
Evidently, while others are sharpening skills to go break individual and world records to harvest precious medals for themselves and country in Paris, Cameroon is battling simply to be present and counted among participants. Just going to see while others are heading there to participate and bring home victories! Without being a prophet of doom, one may be lured to think that the upcoming games would simply be a safari trip for the delegation that is logically supposed to be seriously trimmed to the arms, looking at the number of qualified athletes.
What Cameroon is living at moment with the Olympic Games, like other international competitions, is fruit of the disturbingly, but rather raging improvisation that honours neither the country nor the athletes. For, little or no planning is done well ahead of time and some who are champions in playing to the gallery surprisingly expect magic to come the country’s way, which has proven to be unlikely in sports, notably in high-level global competitions.
The seemingly inexistent or inefficient vision in the Olympic Games that is responsible for the sorry situation that is seen today is simply the fruit of unending wrangling within sports federations and among federations and supervisory authorities. How would there be short, medium and long-term vision which permits in detecting and grooming talents for competitions when those manning the different sports movements in the country are into fierce tussle fo...



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