Minister of Home Affair and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana applauded the youth that participated in the annual Dr Kleopas Ndumeni Marathon at Ruacana last weekend and said a sporting nation is a winning nation.
“Through sport, we are able to keep healthy and avoid engaging in destructive activities. Prepare yourself mentally, intellectually and physically because you are the future leaders,” Ithana told the athletes, who steadily wound their way through Ruacana and Outapi in the Omusati Region.
Ithana also said the young ones are lucky that they have opportunities and privileges that most of the elders did not have in the past and urged them to embrace what is at their disposal.
The home affairs minister told the athletes to dream big and strive to become good leaders, while the elders are still breathing. “When the elders get old, the youth will be obliged to take over after completing their studies. However, this will not be possible if they are to indulge in alcohol abuse and other evils of society,” she added.
Ithana also reminded them to show respect towards elders and refrain from unruly behaviour.
The long-serving lawmaker further advised the youth to refrain from cutting corners, but to rather work hard to succeed:
“By the way, I’m very impressed that so many young people are starting to show an interest in sport and therefore I urge you not to give up on your dreams.”
The race drew a large pool of athletes – close to 100 runners – from the various regions and was organised by long-distance journeyman Gabriel Simon Shokonawa, a lone ranger, who needs no introduction to local long-distance running enthusiasts.
Malakia Thomas emerged as the overall winner in the gruelling 42 kilometre race, while Malakia Thomas and Eunike Kanana claimed top honours in the shorter 15-kilometre race for boys and girls, respectively.
Ruacana Constituency Councillor Andreas Shitama and the Mayor Linea Shikale also competed in the five-kilometre social run for casual runners.
The mayor finished first, leaving her colleague (Shitama) to pick up the pieces for second spot.
In conclusion, Ithana urged local business people to support sporting events and other recreational activities so as to uplift the community, whilst keeping them healthy and busy with constructive social activities.