By Catherine Sasman
The Ohangwena Region sent 23 athletes to compete in the national athletics championship that took place in Windhoek last weekend.
The athletes competed in the under- 13, 15 and 19 age groups.
The region put high hopes on two of its athletes, said Ohangwena Regional Sports Coordinator, Theofelus Moses.
Sem Shimhanda is an upcoming sprinter who broke the regional record of 13 seconds for the 100 meters last year with a fast time of 12.71 seconds. He also smashed the 200-meter record of 25 seconds by slicing off 300th of a second.
The other sporting hope is Lavina Haitope, who competes in the 1500 and 3000 meter sprints. According to Moses, Haitope has dominated a significant number of national events in the under-19 age group.
The region had been without a sports officer for seven years, before Moses stepped into the position last August.
Moses said sports have been neglected in the region and that it is currently buckling under the weight of a dire lack of funds.
“We also do not have equipment for athletics but we are expected to participate in all categories,” said Moses.
He made an appeal to the political leadership to facilitate regional sporting offices.
Another challenge, he said, is that school principals do not understand the importance of sports and neither do they avail resources for their learners to participate in organized events.
He complained that most sponsors prefer to fund sporting events in the Khomas Region.
“Sponsors forget that other regions have talent that should be nurtured,” said Moses.
The region is now developing in various disciplines such as athletics, soccer, volleyball, basketball, table tennis and softball.
On of the highlights of the sporting year is the Coca Cola Football Stars event pencilled to kick off on May 24 at the Eengedjo Senior Secondary School.
Nine schools will participate at the competition.
This year, the region plans to have a regional sports award, and it has already made appeals to potential sponsors to come on board.
“Our children are eager to participate, but we are seriously hamstrung by inadequate funding. One cannot stage a tournament without prizes at stake,” concluded Moses.