More than 170 of SADC’s top junior athletes will converge on Windhoek this weekend to participate in the CAA Southern Africa Junior Athletics Championships on Saturday.
At a press conference in Windhoek on Wednesday the vice president of Athletics Namibia Alna Similo said that 10 SADC countries had already confirmed their participation and would arrive in Windhoek on Friday.
They are Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Zambia.
As the hosts, Namibia will have the biggest team of 55 athletes.
Similo urged the public to attend the event at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium, saying that they would witness some spectacular athletics.
“We plead to the whole nation to come out in big numbers to support the event. We promise that it will be a prestigious event that everybody will talk about afterwards,” she said.
The press conference was also attended by the national coordinator of the Namibia National Schools Union Solly Duiker and the country representative of Namibia Beverages, who will sponsor the event through their Coca-Cola brand to an amount of N$92 815.
Similo thanked Coca-Cola for their sponsorship, saying that they had sponsored Namibian athletics for the past 20 years. Since then they have sponsored schools athletics from grassroots level like interhouse competitions through to regional international events.
De Bruin said they were proud to be associated with the event, which was a culmination of this year’s school events, which would also serve as a qualifier for the World Junior Athletics Championships which take place in Barcelona, Spain in July.
Duiker said that South Africa would most probably win the competition due to their depth and quality, but Namibia hoped to finish second.
“Last year we came third at the Southern Africa Youth Championships behind South Africa and Botswana so we hope to come at least second this time. We are aiming for at least 10 to 15 gold medals,” he said.
Duiker said some Namibian athletes were also close to qualifying for the World Junior Championships. They include sprinters Gilbert Hainuca and Ismael Tjiramba, javelin thrower Sune Wittmann and discus thrower Charlene Engelbrecht.
Duiker added that they had bought a new electronic time keeping system and promised that there would not be problems with the timing again, after the electronic device malfunctioned at the National Junior Championships on March 31.
The programme for the CAA Southern Africa Junior Championships is attached.