…as team breaks 20-year national record in Nigeria
By John Tuerijama
DESPITE failing to bring home the much needed medals from the just ended 21st African Senior Athletics Championship held in Asaba, Nigeria, Team Namibia broke the 20-year-old national 4x400m relay record broken in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Commonwealth Games. Talking to Confidente sport on Namibia’s performance in Nigeria, Athletics Namibia (AN) President Erwin Naimwhaka expressed satisfaction with the athlete’s performances at the continental showdown. Team Namibia consisted of eight athletes who despite getting stranded at the Lagos airport on their way to the games, managed to proceed beyond the first rounds reaching the semi-final and finals of some of the disciplines. Naimwhaka said the national relay team did the country proud after reaching the semi-final but had to pull out because sprinter Ernst Narib picked up an injury. Since then there was no replacement for him, the relay team had pull out. He said that from Namibia’s performance at the games, he is confident that the current crop of athletes can do very well in future athletic events if they remain active. “I am particularly happy that they managed to reach the semi-final and finals of some of the events and that is indicative that they can do better at next year’s All Africa Games scheduled for Cameroon and the IAAF World Championships slated for Doha, Qatar from 28 September to 6 October.” Naimwaka says. According to him Namibia must be careful and have an open system that will cater for all athletes to potentially select athletes who the country can invest into. The AN president expressed disappointment with seasoned sprinter Tjipekapora Herunga who said did well in other competitions prior to the athletic games in Nigeria. Naimwhaka added that for Namibia to excel internationally, athletes need sufficient competitions locally and regionally before targeting competitions such as the IAAF Indoor, world championships and the Diamond League. “We do have some junior athletes who recently did very well at the African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria and will gradually move into the senior team” “Provided that these young athletes remain active and focused we need to step up sufficient competitions for them and the senior athletes in order to do very well and meet qualifications for major world events.” he concluded. “I am seeing progress with our performances and am very satisfied. The national relay record broken in 1998 was achieved by myself, Veranus Kamati, Mao Tjiroze and Christoffel van Wyk on 20 September 1998.”. The Namibian athletic team consisted of Tjipekapora Herunga, Jolene Jacobs, Ernst Narib, Hardus Maritz, Roger Haitengi, Even Tjiviju, Gilbert Hainuca and Mahmad Bock. The athletes returned to Namibia early this week.
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