04 Jan 2017 11:30am
WINDHOEK, 04 JAN (NAMPA) Namibian marathon coach Tobias Hiskia is aiming to help more runners qualify for the 2017 World Athletics Championships to be held in London from 04 to 13 August.
Only three athletes have thus far qualified to represent the country at the International Association of Athletics Federations event.
They are Beata Naigambo and Helalia Johannes, who are both trained by Hiskia, and Lavinia Haitope.
He told Nampa on enquiry Tuesday he knows two or three more athletes can still qualify by the end of March which will be good for the country.
What would even be better is if we get 10 athletes qualify from long distance and then track disciplines (100 metre (m) to 10 000m) despite the competition among track athletes being difficult, he said.
Athletes have until June to qualify for the championships.
Hiskia, a former marathon runner himself, added that his plan is to take athletes who have already qualified for a three-month training camp to Kenya, but financial constrains might hamper their preparations. He said most of their competitors come from Kenya.
At the moment we do not have money to prepare well as everything is coming from our own pockets, but I am hopeful all will go well, he said.
Recent budget cuts by government also affected the Sports Ministry that in turn had to suspend participation in most international competitions. More budget cuts are expected in the next financial year.
Some long-distance running athletes coached by Hiskia who have represented the country at the Olympic Games are Naigambo, Johannes, Mynhardt Kauanivi and Alina Armas.
Kauanivi ended 70th in the mens marathon; while Naigambo ended 41st; Johannes 56th and Armas 75th in the womens marathon of the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro in August last year.