Marianne Young

Marianne Young

High Commissioner, Windhoek

Part of UK in Namibia

1st July 2014 Windhoek, Namibia

Cycling the road to Glasgow and beyond

The following is a guest blog by Richard Shepherd, Cycling Coach from British Cycling.

From the 16th to the 26th of June I visited Namibia in my role as an expert in Cycle Coaching and Development.  My experience comes from working as a Coach and Coach Educator for British Cycling and the world governing body for cycling, the UCI.  This was the first of a series of visits to Namibia as part of a British Cycling/UK Sport initiative to support the development of cycling in Namibia.

Richard Shepherd, British Cycling Coach
Richard Shepherd, British Cycling Coach

I have been a British Cycling Coach for many years and have experience of Sports development and Coach Education as well. Having coached in a number of African countries I understand the problems that can be encountered but also the benefits that can be obtained.

During my stay in Windhoek, the lovely capital of Namibia, we managed to jointly lay out a 4-year-plan, drawing together all the interested groups in Namibian cycling, mainly the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF), cycling clubs throughout Namibia, together with other projects and groups which have cycling as a priority or focus.

Currently there are no dedicated facilities for cycling in Namibia, without at least one, the prospects for progression will be very much reduced. This is the single most important part of the 4-year-plan.

Practicing Curves...
Practicing Curves…

However, the NCF recognise this and are in the process of identifying suitable locations for what would become an African centre of excellence for Cycle Sport with multi – discipline facilities and accommodation. Sponsorship will be needed to ensure this facility is established to the standards required but when completed it will a shining example of what can be achieved and ensure sustainability of the whole project.

During my stay, we identified certain priority sectors within cycling, which need to be looked at. Coaching in Namibia is an area that is in need of development support so we will hold a coaching course in January 2015 to achieve just that. Other elements that will need addressing are the training of officials and the creation of specialist Cycling facilities. The Mountain Bike trials need to be made more challenging and a safe tarmac training/race facility in Windhoek needs to be in place as a priority.

Mountain Biking outside Windhoek with members of the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF)
Mountain Biking outside Windhoek with members of the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF)

One of the groups I was training with, is the Katutura based Physically Active Youth (PAY) project. The youngsters receive education support and are then encouraged into sports. Cycling is a major focus for this group. Each day after the learning has been completed these young people transform into cyclists and prepare for training. The PAY Elite Team included me on a training ride and we headed for the Independence Stadium. Once there, I lead coaching sessions to develop technique, skill and race specific fitness. On other days we headed into the hilly parts of Windhoek to make the riders suffer with very intense sessions. I must admit, they (and I) really enjoyed those hours in the sun too.

PAY cyclists in Windhoek.
PAY cyclists in Windhoek.

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are fast approaching and I will be accompanying the Namibian Team as Coach. This is the first proper role as part of my involvement with Namibia Cycling. I will be visiting regularly over the coming years to support the project aims and ensure Namibia creates a strong, healthy and sustainable structure that is an example of excellence in Cycle Sport.

There have been success stories within Namibian Cycling in the past but these have been achieved by the efforts of a few individuals against the odds. In future, these successes will become more frequent and to an even higher level when the project aims are achieved.

Richard at High CommissionRichard Shepherd at the British High Commission with Hans-Christian Mahnke, Political and Press Officer of the High Commission.



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About Marianne Young

Marianne Young is the current British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia. She arrived in Windhoek in June 2011 and presented her credentials to the President of the Republic of…

Marianne Young is the current British High Commissioner to the
Republic of Namibia. She arrived in Windhoek in June 2011 and presented
her credentials to the President of the Republic of Namibia on 3rd
Mrs Young joined the FCO in 2001 following a career in international
journalism, including time spent running an Asian maritime press office
in Singapore and a traineeship on the UK’s Times newspaper.
Her first role in the FCO was as a Press Officer in News Department,
after which she went on to be Head of the Great Lakes Section in Africa
Directorate and then Head of the East Africa & Horn Section.
In 2005, she became the first Head of Communications for the Engaging with the Islamic World Group.
She moved to the British High Commission in Pretoria in February 2007
and served as the Head of the External Political Section and Deputy
High Commissioner to the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland.
Mrs Young moved across to the British High Commission in Windhoek in
June 2011, and presented her credentials to the President of the
Republic of Namibia on 3rd August 2011.
On her appointment as British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia, Mrs Young said:
“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed Her Majesty’s High
Commissioner to Namibia. I look forward to working to strengthen the
many commercial, political and cultural ties between our two countries,
and to help the many British nationals who holiday there. My family and I
are particularly thrilled to be remaining in southern Africa – and to
have the opportunity to explore this beautiful country further and
discover more about its people and culture.”
Curriculum vitae

Full name:
Marianne Young

Married to:
Barry Young

Two daughters and one son

June 2011
Windhoek, British High Commissioner

2007 – 2011
Pretoria, Head of External Political Section and DHC for the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland

2005 – 2006
FCO, Head of Communications, Engaging with the Islamic World Group

2004 – 2005
FCO, Head of East Africa & Horn Section, Africa Directorate

3/2003 – 8/2003
FCO, Head of Great Lakes Section, Africa Directorate

2002 – 2003
FCO, Press Officer, Press Office

2001 – 2002
FCO, Departmental Report Editor, Press Office

Joined FCO

Senior Correspondent, Fairplay Group, UK

Staff Editor and then Asia Editor, Fairplay Group Singapore

Graduate Trainee at The Times newspaper, UK

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