Director of Sport in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service Jo-Ann Manuel has expressed her directorate’s readiness to elevate the Navachab Half-Marathon into one of the largest events in the region.
Manuel made these remarks during the award ceremony of the 2023 Navachab half-marathon, which took place in Karibib on Saturday.
The sport director called upon the organiser of the Navachab Half Marathon, Berthold Karumendu, to collaborate closely with the ministry to transform this marathon into one of the region’s premier events.
“Next year, we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of this half-marathon, and it would be fantastic to witness the participation of the finest long-distance runners from the region,” she said.
She emphasised it is the ministry’s duty to ensure sport is played in the country and that Namibian children are given opportunities to compete.
“I urge the event organiser to liaise with the ministry regarding all logistical and financial aspects of incorporating this half-marathon into the World Athletics calendar. We can make this a reality, as hosting events in smaller towns presents fewer logistical challenges,” Manuel added.
Meanwhile, the event organiser, who also serves as a senior sports officer for the ministry of sport in Omaruru, Erongo region, expressed his satisfaction with celebrating nine years of hosting the half-marathon.
However, he acknowledged that the race still faces challenges, such as manual athlete registration and manual timing, which hinder its ability to attract high-quality regional and international athletes.
“We need to secure sponsors willing to provide financial support to enable us to engage institutions with digital technology, allowing us to utilise scanners and precise timing. This would cost us between N$25 000 and N$30 000,” he explained.
Karumendu expressed contentment with the increased N$10 000 prize for the half-marathon winners.
Still, he pointed out, for the race to attain Bronze Event status from World Athletics, the prize money must be raised to at least N$25 000 or more in order to attract elite marathon runners from the Southern African Development Community and the continent.