By Carlos Kambaekwa
The coastal town of Swakopmund is to host the 8th edition of the annual Old Mutual Victory Race Series at the Swakopmund Stadium, on Saturday the 19th of next month.
The second leg of the triangular series will be held at Oshakati’s Independence Stadium on the 2nd of August 2008, whilst the final and decisive leg is pencilled in for the capital at the Jan Mohr Senior Secondary School on the 20th of September 2008.
The Victory Race Series was first launched in 2001 with the primary aim of promoting road running and to create and provide training opportunities for athletes in anticipation of national and international participation.
The event also provides a platform for people from all walks of life to mingle, exercise and assist in the development of talented athletes who would normally not have had the opportunity to showcase their talent and unleash their full potential.
Old Mutual once again has undertaken to give development bursaries to two outstanding athletes in order to enable underprivileged but promising young athletes to further their academic careers.
There are several cash prizes at stake with the overall winner in each category taking home a cool N$10,000 and the runner-up will be richer by N$5,000 whilst there is a consolation prize of N$2,500 for third place.
Each participant is required to partake in either the Swakopmund or the Oshakati leg in order to be considered for the final leg in Windhoek, where runners are going to grill each other in both the 5-kilometer event catering for fun runners and the gruelling 21-kilometer for the serious athletes.
As opposed to previous races, the registration will now take place 48 hours prior to the commencement of all races because of the increase in athletes entering the competition every year. This year’s event is expected to attract more than 800 athletes.
In order to avoid confusion amongst runners in different categories, the organizers have resolved to have separate timekeepers for each category this time around.
When delivering his keynote address at the launching in Windhoek yesterday, Old Mutual’s Chief Executive Officer of Operations, Sakaria Nghikembua, likened the Victory Race series to the movie “Forest Gump” where the main character Forrest Gump wore a pair of shoes, which he called his magic shoes and strongly believed they would take him anywhere.
“I don’t wish to compare the Victory Race Series to shoes but I do want to say to the athletes taking part in this year’s Victory Race Series – if you have the talent and commitment – this series will certainly take you anywhere you want to go.”
Speaking at the same occasion, the Chief Administrator of the National Sports Commission Rusten “Zukhile” Mogane applauded Old Mutual for their initiative and emphasized the importance of athletics in major sports events globally. He also used the platform to give Athletic Namibia a pat on the back.
Mogane says the embattled union has finally put its ducks in the row and has finally submitted its audited financial reports as required by the Namibian Sports Act of 2003.
“I must really congratulate the president of Athletic Namibia, Alpha Kangueehi, and his executive for a job well done. Not only that, the union has also brought in experts from Germany to assist with the development of local athletics whilst also looking at various ways on how to improve infrastructure.”
Mogane added that the union has managed to convince their German counterparts in rendering financial assistance for the erection of a new tartan track at the Legare Sports Complex in Gobabis in due course.