Namibia: Okahandja Derby a Hit

The first MTC Namibia Derby held at Okahandja over the weekend was a resounding success, the event organisers said.

Namibia Horse Racing Association (NHRA) president Marthinus de Waal expressed satisfaction with the event which saw clubs from Gobabis, Rehoboth, Okakarara, Otjinene, Okondjatu, and Aminuis compete for a share of N$250 000 in prize money on offer.

"This is our first derby ever since MTC came on board to support this sport code through us (NHRA), and we are pleased that it is a resounding success. Horse racing is big, and it continues to grow, and with the support of our sponsor, MTC, we will realise significant growth," he said.

Highlights included Ending Tjihoro's Freedom Fighter from Ovitito leaving rivals trailing in the dust to take the NamBred 2 400m division title and the N$10 000 purse.

In second place was Leeuloop from Okahandja Racing, and not far behind was Von Trotha from Otjinene, reared by Edison Kandji.

Willem Lotz's Fort Love was the horse to win in the imports section over 2 200m, edging fellow Rehoboth competitor Forged in Flame, owned by Gerald van der Vent, to claim honours.

In third place was Horse Stebbins from the renowned Professor Supporters Club at Okondjatu.

"Without a doubt, horse racing is one of the popular sport events which is normally enjoyed by many Namibians, and with sound management and properly organised efforts from all parties involved, we ought to see it grow to lofty heights," said De Waal.

Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua was also taken by the thrilling derby, saying: "Sport development is crucial for stimulating the local economy and social welfare, and as the government, together with stakeholders, we should take sport seriously and give it sufficient support."

Likewise MTC's corporate affairs manager John Ekongo said his company was delighted to be making a difference for the sport code.

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