Uveni Kuukongelwa of Nampol Athletics Club won the first leg of the Old Mutual Victory Races in Keetmanshoop on Saturday.
Kuukongelwa covered the 21,1km course in a time of 1:08:13 to finish well ahead of Paulus Iyambo of the NDF who came second in 1:08:30 and another NDF athlete, Simon Shipingana who came third in 1:08:44.
It was the first time that the 29-year-old Kuukongelwa had won a major marathon in Namibia and he was understandably proud of his performance.
“I feel great to have won this race. It was not easy because the wind was blowing a lot, but I tried to push the pace and it worked out as I dropped the other athletes after 10km,” he said.
Kuukongelwa only started running three years ago after moving to Windhoek from the north of Namibia, but he soon made his mark. Last year he won a half marathon in Ohangwena and also came third in two legs of the Old Mutual Victory Races Series, in Oshakati and Swakopmund. Earlier this year he competed in his first full marathon over 42km, and finished fifth in the Rossing Marathon.
Kuukongelwa, who is coached by Namibia’s Sports Woman of the Year and Olympic marathon athlete Helalia Johannes, thanked her for her support and tactics.
“Helalia has helped me a lot, also with my tactics, and everything worked out as planned in the race,” he said.
Lavinia Haitope of Ohangwena Star Athletics Club comfortably won the women’s half marathon in a time of 1:18:56. She finished nearly a minute ahead of Allina Armos of NDF (1:19:45), while Anna Amukoto of the NDF came third in 1:20:09.
The 22-year-old Haitope is Namibia’s top up-and-coming female long distance athlete. She already made her mark at the Victory Races series when she previously won scholarships as the top female junior athlete.
Earlier this year, Haitope competed at the South African Yellow Pages series where she got several podium places in the 3 000m and 5 000m track events.
Namibia’s top two female athletes, Helalia Johannes and Beata Naigambo were not in action in Keetmanshoop as they are both preparing for the Olympic Games which starts in London next month.
Frans Hosea of the NDF won the senior men’s 5km race, followed by Pinias Embashu of NDF and Daniel Nghipandulwa of Ohangwena Star Athletics Club.
Rachel Akukuthela of NDF won the women’s 5km race followed by Otilie Aimwata of NDF and Sartie Ishitile of NDF.
The results in the various categories are attached.
|Keetmanshoop results.doc||148 KB|