The Namibian (Windhoek)

15 January 2013

Namibia: Athletes Aim for World Champs

NAMIBIA'S top athletes are confident of qualifying for the World Athletics Championships in August this year, after good performances during the second leg of the Bank Windhoek Grand Prix series on Saturday.

Hitjiverue Kaanjuka won the men's sprint double, winning gold in the 100m in 10,51 seconds and another gold in the 200m in 21,08 to edge close to his personal best times of 10,32 and 20,80 respectively.

But while he maybe returning to form, he is still well off the qualifying times for Moscow. The A qualifying time for the Men's 100m is 10,15 while the B qualifying time is 10,21. In the 200m, the A qualifying time is 20,52 and the B qualifying time is 20,60.

Kaanjuka however is confident that he would qualify for the World Championships.

"This season I'm very sure that I will break my PBs (Personal Bests). I will not be holding back, I've got nothing to lose and I'm ready to let it go. I'm aiming to get to Moscow, (for the World Athletics Championships) that's my big aim at the moment," he said.

Daniel Nghipandulwa dominated the men's middle-distance events, winning the 800m and 1 500m, while he came second in the 400m.

He too is confident of qualifying for Moscow.

"This year I'm targeting the World Championships in Moscow in August. I'm sure if I get quality competition in South Africa or Europe I will make it," he said.

Like Kaanjuka, Nghipandulwa's times are far off the required Moscow qualifying standard. He won the 800m in one minute and 51 seconds while the Moscow A and B qualifying times are 1:45,30 and 1:46,20 respectively.

Nghipandulwa's winning time of three and 57,77 seconds for the 1 500m was also well behind the Moscow A and B qualifying times of 3:35,00 and 3:37,00.

Nghipandulwa has a personal best of 1:46,62 for the 800m and he said with the necessary competition he would be able to qualify for Moscow.

"Last year was a big disappointment for me because I did not get quality competition. I competed in South Africa where I won two silver and one bronze medal, but then I couldn't go to Europe to try and qualify for the Olympics. I beat the South African athlete André Olivier at the SA National Championships, but he later qualified for the Olympics where he reached the semifinals. So I beat Andre Olivier but unluckily for me I didn't have a sponsor," he said.

Tjipekapora Herunga, who reached the 400m semifinals at last year's Olympics, came second in the 100m and third in the 200m on Saturday. She said she was concentrating on building up her speed and was happy with her performances.

"I didn't train for a month but I'm happy with my results and I'll be ready for the final Grand Prix in Swakopmund and the National Championships at the end of February. I will try and push harder for those competitions so that I can qualify for the World Champs," she said.

"My objective and aim for this year is to break the 51-second barrier for the 400m. I told myself that I can't run 51 seconds for two years in a row, so I'm preparing to go for 50 seconds this year. I saw the qualifying times for the World Champs and they are not that fast - I know I can beat those times," she added.

The Women's 400m A qualifying time of 51,55 and the B qualifying time of 52,35 are both well in Herunga's grasp after she set a national record of 51,24 last year.

The best performance of Saturday came from Globine Mayova, who won the women's 200m in 23,79 seconds. This was quite close to her national record of 23,39 and not too far off the Moscow A and B qualifying times of 23,05 and 23,30 seconds.

Other athletes who put in promising performances include Basilus Karupu in the men's 400m and Lavinia Haitope in the women's 800m, 1 500m and 3 000m.

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