Shaanika wins historic race
Shaanika, who trains under the Sunshine Athletics Club at Oshakati in the Oshana Region, completed the Mile in four minutes and 13 seconds (04:13) last Saturday. He defeated, amongst others, Reinhold Iita (prominent Namibian long distance champion) and Simon Shigwedha (Gabriel Simon Shokonawa Annual Marathon 2006 champion). Hosea completed the Mile (1,3 Km) in 04:16, Kaxuxena in 04:17, while Shigwedha and Iita in the fourth and fifth position completed the race in 04:19 and 04:23, respectively. As the champion, Shaanika took home a gold medal and N$2 500, Hosea was awarded a silver medal and N$1 500 while a bronze medal and N$1 000 went to Kaxuxena. The tourney, part of Agnes Samaria’s development project was sponsored to the tune of N$21 000 and Agnes Samaria expressed her optimism for the growth of athletics in the Northern Region of the country. “Obviously I would have loved to see more people participating but I was moved by the response and the enthusiasm of the people in the area towards the sport,” she said. The Street Mile Race was held to mark the end of a 5-day athletics camp where 21 youngsters were involved in training workshops about the sport. In the end, 80 athletes joined the Street Mile on Saturday including seasoned athletes, who won the top accolades. It was the first time that Samaria was in the North and her 5th development camp since last year, where British gold medallist Kelly Holmes was invited for the Windhoek camp. Prominent Namibian distance runner, Beata Naigambo, won the Senior Women category, followed by Selma Shiimi (from Khomas) and Anna Nghuhepa (from Oshana) in the second and third position, respectively. Naigambo (also from Khomas) completed the race in 05:07, Shiimi in 05:38 and Nghuhepa in 06:12. They took home prizes similar to what the winners of the Senior Men category have received. Other category winners were: Johannes Shipopyeni (youth men), Martha Shivolo (youth women), Edward Kauanivi (junior men), Sarti Eshitile (junior women), Tobias Muindia Eliaser (veteran men) and Wilma Shikongo (veteran women). Namibia is still seeking replacements to retired sprint legend Frankie Fredericks and with Samaria recently showing signs of ageing in her last assignments, the sprint queen hopes to make the Street Mile an annual event in the North, while she maintains that development camps will continue through out the country. “I cannot say I have seen the best since the search for talent continues but I can confirm that the spirit for the sport is in the North,” she told Southern Times. The Oshakati Street Mile attracted athletes from neighbouring regions, the Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto, Kara, Khomas and Hardap regions.