Youngsters Set to Shine On National Stage

THRILLING contests are expected at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium when the Bank Windhoek Athletics Namibia Senior Track and Field Championships take place this weekend.

Action begins on Friday afternoon with the women’s heptathlon and will end on Saturday at noon with a medal presentation ceremony.

As is the case at most meets, attention is likely to centre around the sprint events where a number of youngsters have come to the fore in the absence of the country’s elite runners.

Men’s 100 and 200m champion Hitjiverue Kaanjuka and his fairer-sex compatriot Globine Mayova, women hurdles champion Lelanie Klaasman, 400m women champion Tjipekapora Herunga and male sprinter Dantago Gurirab are all in Jamaica as part of a long-term training programme with the aim of improving their chances of winning medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Nonetheless, the Erongo, Khomas, Oshana, Kavango, Kavango-East regions and several associate members have entered their best athletes which makes for a promising entertainment-filled event for athletics lovers, said the organisers.

“The cream of Namibian track and field athletes will be on show and a visit to the stadium may not be out of line. You may see some exciting results,” said Athletics Namibia’s Frank Slabbert.

Jesse Urikhob appears to have shrugged off injury concerns from last year and is the favourite for the men’s 100m and 200m titles, after having enjoyed an impressive season so far.

However, he will have to contend with competition from the fast improving 20-year-old Tjimbatu Kauajo, who won the sprints at the Marathon Sugar Mini Grand Prix in January.

Also expected to be chasing podium places are Basilius Karupu and Gilbert Hainuca.

In the women’s race, 20-year-old Lena Noreses is likely to battle it out for the title with 20-year-old nemesis Desiree Kandovazu.

Both athletes have enjoyed consistent outings thus far, although Noreses has already edged her rival twice in earlier meetings.

The race for the 400m men’s title will see a battle between more seasoned athletes in Ernst Narib, Basilius Karupu, and 800m specialist Daniel Nghipandulwa, who in turn will be pushed by Oscar Komeya in their favoured discipline.

Nghipandulwa will be gunning for a double, as he will also be chasing the 1500m title. However he will have to upstage Johannes Skrywer, who beat him earlier this year.

Mynhardt Kauanivi, Johannes Naitembu and Frans Hosea all stand a good chance to win the men’s 5 000m title, while Lavinia Haitope and Klaudia Moses are expected to fight for the women’s middle distance events.

The first events are scheduled for 17h00 on Friday and will finish for the day at 19h45. The championship will continue on Saturday from 08h30, with the final medal presentation set for 12h00.

“Athletics Namibia is grateful for the wonderful support from Bank Windhoek, the main sponsor, as well as Namibia BeveragesCoca Cola who supply all the soft drinks and water,” Slabbert said.

Source : The Namibian