Namibia: Big Shocks and Upsets At Grand Prix II

    Some big upsets were recorded at Athletics Namibia’s second Grand Prix of the season at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on Saturday, while there were also shocks off the track with the event sponsors, the Pupkewitz Foundation, trying to prohibit Namibia’s media from taking photos at the event.

    The standout performance of the meet belonged to the 20-year-old Coenraad Kuhn of the Quinton Steele Botes Athletics Club (QSBAC), who equalled the oldest record on the Namibian record books, when he won the men’s shot put with a great throw of 17,10m. That equalled Derreck Wiggill’s longstanding record that was set nearly 55 years ago on 19 April 1969.

    Kuhn’s brilliant performance was, however, soured by some heavy-handed officials who tried to prohibit Namibia’s journalists from taking photos.

    Vernon Hugo of the Pupkewitz Foundation said they had obtained exclusive rights to broadcast the event through their broadcast partner Tv2Namibia and that other media houses were not allowed on the field to take photos. The president of Athletics Namibia, Erwin Naimwhaka later deferred questions, saying that the event organiser Bethold Karumendu could answer, but Karumendu could not be reached for comment.

    The incident put a dampener on an otherwise brilliant athletics event that produced several shocks on the track.

    The men’s 400m was one of the most anticipated races with national record holder Mahmad Bock and Ivan Danny Geldenhuys starting as the favourites, but in the end the young unheralded Elton Hoeseb of QSBAC pipped them to the line to take the gold medal in a new personal best time of 46,52 seconds, which broke his previous best by more than a second.

    Bock had to settle for the silver medal with a time of 47,10 seconds, while Geldenhuys came third in 47,24.

    The women’s 400m also produced an upset as Napuumue Hengari of Unam Athletics Club beat the pre-race favourites, Nandi Vass and Tuuliki Angala to the line.

    Hengari and Angala hit the home straight neck-and-neck and after giving it their all, Hengari crossed the finishing line in a new personal best time of 57,23 seconds, with Angala coming second in 57,55 and Vass third in 58,21.

    The men and women’s sprints were, however, dominated by Gilbert Hainuca of Nust Welwitchia 77 Athletics Club and Ndawana Haitembu of Golden Cheetahs Athletics Club both doing the double.