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Namibian top athletes jet off to Germany for competitions
Four of Namibia's top athletes have left for Germany to compete in a series of German athletics events as part of the Vision 2016 programme.
Hitjiverue Kaanjuka and Globine Mayova, who will both run 100m and 200m; Tjipekapora Herunga (200m and 400m) and Daniel Nghipandulwa (800m and 1500m) left for Germany accompanied by team manager Agnes Samaria and coach Letu Hamhola.
According to Samaria the athletes have been invited to compete in six events in Germany. Depending on their performances, they could be invited to compete in more events.
Their visit forms part of the Vision 2016 programme which was originally developed by Samaria and Hamhola, and which has subsequently been sponsored by the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture.
"We introduced the idea to the Ministry and we have received great support from them," Samaria said at a courtesy call to Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Kazenambo Kazenambo.
Under the programme Namibia's top athletes have been competing at the South African Yellow Pages series, where they gave commendable performances earlier this year. Herunga and Nghipandulwa set new Namibian records in the 400m and 800m respectively, while Namibia's athletes established eight personal best times.
The aim is to prepare Namibia's elite athletes for major international events like the All Africa Games and the Olympic Games.
None of them have qualified for the Olympic Games yet, although Herunga is very close. According to Samaria, her personal best and Namibian record time of 52,32 seconds is very close to the qualifying standard.
Besides Herunga, Mayova and Nghipandulwa have qualified for the All Africa Games while Kaanjuka is also close to the qualifying standard.
"We have to invest in our athletes to improve their performances. There was already a big improvement at the Yellow Pages and next year we expect even better results," Samaria said.
Minister Kazenambo called on the athletes to give their best and to be mindful of the privilege afforded to them.
"Our resources are always limited, so it is always a challenge for us to develop the means to manage our limited resources. Take your athletics seriously and be mindful of the fact that you are representing your country," he said.
At the press conference it was also announced that Protea Hotels also contributed to the athletes' well being, by offering them accommodation for training camps in Windhoek, while they also received accommodation in Durban during the Yellow Pages series.