Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

15 February 2013

Namibia: Katutura Youth Establishes Biathle Club

Swimmers at the Katutura after school organisation, "Physically Active Youth" (PAY) established Windhoek's first biathle club last weekend.

The club is dedicated to promoting the sport which is relatively new to Namibians and to prepare athletes for biathle. The club will also foster competition in other endurance multi-sports such as duathlon and triathlon.

Biathle is a short, intense, run-swim-run competition meant to introduce people to modern pentathlon, a century old Olympic sport.

According to a press statement issued by Tom Brouns, coach of the PAY team, the youth established the club in Windhoek because the only other biathle club is in Walvis Bay and was founded last year.

"A club promoting biathle was founded in Walvis Bay in November 2012. Despite the new biathle season in full swing, no club had been created in Windhoek. Therefore, the youth took the initiative and with the support of the Namibia Modern Pentathlon Federation, established their own club this weekend choosing a name, electing officers and discussing a draft constitution," he said.

The club trains on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at Western Suburbs Municipal Pool and plans to host its first competition on 17 March. The competition will be open to all ages, provided competitors can swim the required distance.

He said that teens from PAY discovered biathle relatively late in Namibia's first biathle season which culminated in the national championships in June 2012. Their weak swimming skills prevented them from competing effectively in 2012.

"This only increased the determination of a group of about a dozen youths to become competitive swimmers. With the support of the Namib Swmming Academy, UNAM Khomasdal and now the City of Windhoek, these youths have trained in the pool for nearly a year in order to improve their ability to compete in biathle in 2013 and beyond," he added.

Three of PAY athletes will participate in the Mariental Triathlon in late 2013, and more are expected to enter the Point Break Open Water Swim in March and OTB Sport's Friedenau Triathlon in April. They have also been regular competitors in the triathlons and duathlons hosted by T-Rex Triathlon Tribe. The ultimate prize, however, is qualifying to the Biathle World Championships in late 2013.

Biathle has a World Championships in its own right, and in 2012, Namibia athletes competed in the World Championships for the first time, coming away with silver medal from the event held in Dubai last year, November.

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