Local sprinter Christine Mbonga was the star over the weekend during the first leg of the 4-legged Coca-Cola Athletics Namibia (AN) Grand Prix, which took place at Swakopmund on Saturday.
Mbonga ran an astonishing time of 51.59 seconds to win the women’s 400m race and set a new record with her finishing time. The weekend’s grand prix also saw Para-athletes and able-bodied athletes competing together in various races.
Although the para-athletes and able-bodied athletes competed together, their times were recorded separately as to not affect the times of either athlete. Namibia Paralympics Committee (NPC) secretary general Michael Hamukwaya yesterday explained that the whole idea of mixing para-athletes and able-bodied athletes was to give para-athletes exposure to top competition and also promote inclusivity.
“The whole idea behind para-athletes competing together with able-bodied athletes is to promote inclusivity, as there is no discrimination in sport – and we want them to know that they can compete anywhere. This is also to give them the needed competition in preparation for future events. But all points gained by our athletes over the weekend will be calculated separately and sent to the international mother body,” he said.
Mbonga, coming from the Quinton-Steele Botes Athletics Club, set the fastest time in the women’s 400m after crossing the line in 51.59 seconds. She was followed by Ludgerus Johanna from the Namibia Correctional Service (NCS), who clocked 1:02:11 seconds to take second place, while third place went to Alberts Elizhia, who finished the race in 1:07:60.
In the 100m women race, Beatrice Masilingi, also from the Quinton Steele Botes Athletics Club, came first with a time of 11.79 seconds, followed by Jacobs Jolene with a time of 12.15 seconds and Haitembu Ndawana in third place with 12.75 seconds.
In the 200m women event, Masilingi was again back in the thick of things when she won the race in a time of 23.94 seconds, followed by Haitembu Ndawana with 26.23 seconds and Vass Nandi in third place with a time of 26.96 seconds.
In the men’s events, the 100m race was won by Basson Jurgen with his time of 12.27 seconds, and Rivaldo Swartbooi took second place with a time of 12.41 seconds, while Johannes Kanyangela clocked 12.90 seconds to finish third.
Appolus Mervin won the men’s 400m race with a time of 49.97 seconds, followed by Nakapela Hitewa, who came in second place with his time of 51.86 seconds. Ashipala Tangeni settled for third place with a time of 52.35 seconds.
In the 1500m men’s event, Dawid Dam came first with a time of 4.04.28, followed by Daniel Nghipandula with a time of 4.04.42, while Uhorera Mavenjono came in third place with a time of 4.05.19.