22 February 2013

Namibia: High Stakes At National Champs

THE country's top athletes will use this weekend's Bank Windhoek National Track and Field Championships to qualify for the IAAF World Championships.

According to Athletics Namibia president Frank Fredericks, the nationals present the final domestic opportunity for athletes to qualify for the global spectacle, which is scheduled for August 10 until August 18 in Moscow, Russia.

Thus far, only marathon runners Helalia Johannes and Beata Naigambo and 200m sprinter Tjipekapora Herunga have qualified for the World Championships.

Others still looking to make the international grade include 1 500m and 3 000m Grand Prix champion Lavinia Haitope, 100/200m specialists Globine Mayova, Hitjiverue Kaanjuka, middle-distance runner Daniel Nghipandulwa and shotput and discus athlete Charlene Engelbrecht.

"There are quite a few athletes that are close to the qualifying standard. We hope that they can qualify during the National Championships but if they don't, they still have the chance to do so at events outside the country," Fredericks said yesterday.

The nationals start at 17h50 at Windhoek's Independence Stadium today and conclude tomorrow. There will be 23 events, to mark 23 years of athletics excellence in an independent Namibia, Fredericks said.

The 2013 Pupkewitz National Cross-Country Championships will succeed the track-and-field action on Sunday in Rehoboth.

Athletes from from seven regions will battle it out to be crowned the nation's top cross-country athlete in the junior and senior categories.

Athletes from the San community in the Kavango Region have been invited in a bid to develop the sport in rural areas.

They will also attempt to qualify for the Confederation of African Athletics Southern Region (CAASR) Cross-Country Championships that will take place on the March 2 in Lesotho as well as the World Cross-Country Championships slated for March 26-31 in Poland.

Sunday's Cross-Country Championships, made possible by a sponsorship of N$100 000 from the Pupkewitz Foundation, will take place from 08h00 to 12h00.

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