Athletics Namibia (AN) president Erwin Naimhwaka is impressed with the overall quality and growth of local athletics events, saying the increasing inflow of raw talents from all parts of the country is testimony to that ascension.
Reflecting on the thrilling action delivered by young athletes during the Swakopmund and Windhoek Grand Prix legs, Naimhwaka believes local athletics competitions are finally coming of age in terms of creating new pathways for upcoming athletes.
“I am satisfied with the overall quality of those competitions, especially looking at the number of young athletes that were in attendance and the number of clubs that are involved; it’s very satisfying. Also, looking at the number that we were able to attract to those two legs in Swakopmund and Windhoek, one can see that the interest from clubs have really grown and the quality of the competitions have improved,” he said.
The Swakopmund and Windhoek Grand Prix legs separately attracted more than 200 athletes each, and also saw clubs coming from as far as Rundu.
“We expect a growing inflow of young and raw talents in coming competitions, it’s just the beginning of the season and one can already see the enthusiasm among the athletes.”
Naimhwaka said having top athletes such as Tokyo Olympics superstars Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi adds great value to competitions, as the upcoming athletes are accorded an opportunity to learn a thing or two from their more experienced counterparts while also gaining valuable exposure.
“It is important to everyone, not only those at the grassroots level. Having them [Mboma and Masilingi] competing there was of great benefit to the upcoming ones because it encourages them to participate more in these events and that’s how they will grow.”
The remaining legs of AN Grand Prix are:
Third – Windhoek on 5 February
Fourth - Rietfontein on 19 February
Fifth - Oshakati on 5 March
Sixth - 16 March (Venue to be announced)
Seventh - Mariental on 28 May
Eighth – Gobabis on 18 June
Ninth – Rundu on 30 July
Tenth - Outapi on 13 August