By John Tuerijama
MARATHON events in Namibia continue to offer little in monetary value with runners in the country using the events to prepare for bigger competitions that offer qualification for international championships.
Namibia’s sport officer in the Directorate of Sport, Betuel ‘BK’ Karumendu, said the country’s marathon competitions do not even attract Africa’s best marathon runners.
Karumendu, who is based in Omaruru in the Erongo region, told Confidente on the sidelines of the launch of the annual Navachab Gold Mine Half Marathon that Namibian long distance runners simply use local competitions as preparation for major international events. The Navachab Gold Mine Half Marathon takes place this Saturday.
He said most of the lucrative road running events are held in neighbouring South Africa and are accredited by the Confederation of Southern Africa Region.
Marathon events in South Africa are money-spinners for local athletes and normally attract the best from the continent, including athletes from Ethiopia and Kenya, who are considered Africa’s best runners.
This year’s road running marathon held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, saw Namibia’s Helalia Johannes coming second and pocketing N$40 000, with the overall winner going home with a cool N$80 000. That is huge world of difference compared to the N$7 000 for the overall winner in the Navachab Half Marathon, Karumendu said.
With the Cape Town marathon scheduled for next week, Karumendu said the Navachab event will likely attract Namibia’s top road runners who are preparing for the Cape Town Marathon.
“For Namibia to attract top runners from across the world, the business sector must up their ante in sponsoring road running events. Most athletes will compete in the Cape Town marathon to qualify for the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) world championship scheduled for Doha, Qatar,” he said.
Karumendu further said the Sanlam Cape Town marathon known as a gold labor marathon has the blessing of the IAAF and that winners of the event walks away with a cool N$300 000. That alone attracts huge interest from the best in the world.
The 2017 Navachab Half Marathon saw South Africa Joel Mmane, Thabang Mosiako and Lucky Mohale clinching the first top three position while local sensation Reinhold Thomas and Reonald Nampala coming fourth and fifth respectively.
Karibib Municipality Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lesley Goroseb said an agreement between Usakos and Omaruru will soon be signed to sponsor the sporting calendar for the region.
Karumendu welcomed sponsorship from a South African company, SASOL, while local businesses in Karibib injected sponsorship to the tune of N$105 000.
Participants in the various categories will receive cash rewards, including medals for taking part in the 5km fun event.
Registration for Saturday’s event, scheduled to take place at the Usab Field, will take place on Friday while another registration slot is slated for 06h00 and 07h00 on Saturday morning.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015