Namibia’s leading athletes, Ernst Narib, Dantago Gurirab, Jolene Jacobs and Sade de Sousa, swept their opponents aside to be crowned track champions at the annual Athletics Namibia (AN) Track and Field Championships at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on Saturday.
The event saw the country’s elite athletes grill each other for top honours, whilst seeking qualification for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, slated for London, England, in August.
Narib claimed gold medals in both the men’s 200 and 400m sprints and convincingly shook off defending champion Even Tjiviju and Hitjivirue Kaanjuka in the 200m race to record an astonishing time of 20.94 seconds, with Tjiviju tailing on 21.46 seconds, followed by Kaanjuka on 21.53 seconds.
In the 400m sprint Narib clocked 46.54 seconds ahead of Mahmad Bock, who registered a time of 48.33 seconds – leaving Gerson Kangwiya to pick up the pieces for 3rd place with a time of 48.54 seconds.
Gurirab was crowned champion in the 100-metre sprint after claiming the scalps of Kaanjuka and reigning champion Tjiviju who took 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. The former broke the tape at 10.22 seconds with Kaanjuka and Tjiviju clocking 10.35 and 10.44 seconds apiece.
In the women’s category, upcoming sprinter De Sousa continued with her dominance in the 200-m category, dusting off veteran sprinter Globine Mayova, who finished in a disappointing 3rd spot in a time of 24.78 seconds, with Mberihonga Kandovazu in 2nd place, clocking 24.76 seconds.
De Sousa ran a time of 24.30 seconds to claim the podium, though the fast-improving sprinter missed out in the 100m sprints, as she was beaten to the finishing line by veteran athlete Jolene Jacobs, who ran a time of 11.82 seconds, with a fraction of a second adrift (11.85).
Mayova had to be satisfied with another unwanted 3rd podium spot in the 100m sprint with a time of 12.22 seconds, while Kandovazu was crowned champion in the 400 race in a time of 57.58 seconds, with Salmi Nduviteko claiming silver medal on 59.09 seconds. Perpetua Simataa ended 3rd with a time of 01.00.93.
An excited Gurirab, could not hide his delight, saying to be crowned the Namibian champion is a great motivation to continue working hard and to possibly qualify for major international events.
“Before the race, I told all my fellow competitors that if they were to get the better of me, they should be in close proximity of me before we reached the 30-metre mark, a caution they failed to adhere to, thus giving me breathing space to win the race. The victory makes me very happy,” he said after the race. – Nampa