18 Sep 2017 13:00pm
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 18 SEP (NAMPA) Athletics Namibia President Erwin Naimhwaka has called on the corporate world to increase sponsorships of track and field events to bring it to the same level as road running.
Speaking to Nampa at the finish line shortly after the fourth edition of the Navachab Half Marathon in Karibib on Saturday, Naimhwaka said road running is doing much better in the country, because the private sector has created a lot of competitions for the longer distances throughout the year.
There are about four main track and field events, which comprise the national championships and three regional competitions in northern Namibia, the coast and central Namibia; compared to close to 20 road running events that include the four-legged Victory Race Series, Visrivier; Sam Nujoma; and Husab Mine marathons.
This is also the reason why you see marathon runners representing the country at a lot of major competitions in the world, he said.
Naimhwaka would like these types of sponsorships replicated to other athletics events in the country to have more athletes from additional disciplines represent the country at international competitions.
The president applauded the organisers of the Navachab Half Marathon for the great job over the past four years.
Seeing athletes from other countries competing at this competition is a great thing because our athletes can now weigh themselves against those from other countries, and this will help them improve individually, he said.
Naimhwaka stated that athletics will only improve if more money is pumped into the sport, and he again appealed to businesses to meet Government halfway in financing sports development.
Meanwhile, South African runners Joel Mmone, Thabang Mosiako, and Lucky Mohale took the first three spots in the mens race. Reinhold Thomas was the first Namibian over the finish line in fourth place, followed by compatriot Reonard Nampala in fifth place.
Mmone also set a new course record.
Namibias Lavinia Haitope won the womens race, followed by South Africans Mapaseka Makhanya and Janet Dlamini in second and third, places respectively.
A total of 276 men and women took part in the race; an increase from 246 participants last year.