Zimbabwean sprinters Nelson Ndebele and Marvin Bonde emerged winners, while Lenor Piuza of Mozambique retained her title at the Southern Africa Regional Championships at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia, last weekend (26 / 27 May).
The contest featured athletes from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and hosts Namibia. With over 250 entries the championships attracted a record number of participants. The region's athletics future looks promising as many of the winners were either juniors or in their early 20s.
Zimbabwe's Nelson Ndelebele held off a stiff challenge on the home straight from Botswana's Zacharia Kamberuka to win the 400m. They registered personal bests with Ndebele clocking 46.23 to Kamberuka's 46.28. Botswana's Isaac Makwala (46.79) was third in 46.79.
“This is the time for me to make an impact on the international scene. It is my dream to make the Zimbabwe 4x400m relay team for the World Championships in Osaka, Japan,” said the 22-year-old Ndebele.
Ndebele feels Zimbabwe has what it takes to win a medal in the relay. “We won the relay at the 2004 Africa Championships in Brazzaville (Congo). Surely we can win again at the All-Africa Games in Algiers (Algeria) in July. That should set us up for a big race in Osaka,” says Ndebele.
However, it was Botswana’s day in the 400m relay at these championships, beating a Zimbabwean quartet by 6/100s of a second.
Also breaking new ground was Zimbabwe's 20-year-old Marvin Bonde. Braving the chilly conditions Bonde clocked 10.38 to carry the day in the men’s 100m. Although he was unable to compete in the 200m after he suffered a cramp, Bonde was nonetheless delighted.
“I have moved a step closer to qualifying for the World Championships. I should be back in action by the time of the All Africa Games in July. There I expect the kind of competition necessary to achieve the Osaka qualifier,” says Bonde.
Meanwhile South Africa's 18-year-old Constance Mkenku was in a rich vein of form. She blew away the field to win the women’s 100m (11.54). Mkenku (23.43) went onto edge Zambian teenager Rachel Nachula (23.45) in the 200m.
Perhaps the most intriguing women's contest was the 800m where Mozambique's Lenor Piuza arrived from France just in time to defend her title. (South Africa's) Lebogang Phalula, Zambian Elizet Banda and Namibian Herunga Tjipekapora set the early pace with each taking turns to lead.
Piuza (2:07.40) dug deep on the home straight to breeze past her opponents. Not only did she retain her title, she was also gave Mozambique their only medal at the championships. Phalula (2:07.80) was once again runner-up while Zambian teenager Elizet Banda (2:09.24) took the bronze medal.
“I came here specifically to defend my title. This race was tougher than the one in Harare with so much improvement among athletes in this event. I am going back to Europe to try and achieve the qualifier for the All Africa Games and the World Championships,” said a breathless but delighted Piuza.
The men's 5000m was a tussle between the region’s best cross country runners. South Africa's regional senior cross country champion Boy Soke looked set to up set Zambia's early leader Tony Wamulwa. The 18-year-old Wamulwa prevailed on the home-straight to win in (13:59.19) to Soke's 14:00.90.
“At last I am achieving some success on the track,” said the 18-year-old Wamulwa. I want to make the best of my performance so that I can get a chance to study abroad when I finish high school this year,” confirmed Wamulwa, who was placed ninth in the Junior Men’s race at the World Cross country Championships in Mombasa Kenya in March.
Other noteworthy performances came in the men's High Jump and Long Jump. African bronze medallist Ramsay Carelse (South Africa) cleared the bar at 2.20m. Namibian Stefan Louw (7.85) prevailed in his duel with South Africa's Fosu-Amoah Yaw (7.79). South African Sunette Viljoen (56.92) comfortably won the women's Javelin Throw.
Mark Ouma for the IAAF
PB denotes Personal Best
1 Marvin Bonde (Zimbabwe) 10.38 PB
2 Hitjivirue Kanjuka (Namibia) 10.54
3 Chriswell de Wee (Namibia) 10.55
1 Kagiso Khumbane (South Africa) 21.15
2 Sergio Mullen (South Africa) 21.50
3 Savior Kombe (Zambia) 21.57
1 Nelson Ndebele (Zimbabwe) 46.23 PB
2 Zacharia Kamberuka (Botswana) 46.28 PB
3 Isaac Makwala (Botswana) 46.79
1 Samson Ngoepe (South Africa) 1:47.69 PB
2 Crispin Mutakanyi (Zimbabwe) 1:48.65
3 Andre Olivier (South Africa) 1:49.11
1 Dumisani Hlaselo (South Africa) 3:46.36
2 Goodson Chungu (Zambia) 3:49.36
3 Jordan Chipangama (Zambia) 3:50.75
1 Tony Wamulwa (Zambia) 13:59.19
2 Boy Soke (south Africa) 14:00.90
3 Tsotang Maine (Lesotho) 14:46.16
1 Wirimai Juwawo (Zimbabwe) 29:42.73
2 Linos Chintali (Zambia) 29:47.11
3 Venry Hamalila (Zambia) 29:53.33
1 Stephan Louw (Namibia) 7.85 (0.0)
2 Fosu-Amoah Yaw (South Africa) 7.79 (+1.5)
3 Larona Keosimile (Botswana) 7.22 (0.0)
1 Jason Kidza-Sewanyana (South Africa) 15.54 (+1.4)
2 Roger Haitange (Namibia) 15.52 (+1.3)
3 Larona Keosimile (Botswana) 13.63 (-1.1)
1 Ramsey Carelse (South Africa) 2.20
2 Hubert de Beer (South Africa) 2.15
3 Onnanye Ramohube (Botswana) 2.15
1Fakudze Dumisane (Swaziland) 43.89
2 Itumeleng Khati (Lesotho) 33.32
3 Moses Mlambo (Swaziland) 24.53
1 Fakudze Dumisane (Swaziland) 13.70
2 Itumeleng Khati (Lesotho) 10.74
1 Botswana 41.30
2 South Africa 4144
3 Zambia 41.47
1 Boswana 3:08.23
2 Zimbabwe 3:08.29
3 Zambia 3:10.95
1 Constance Mkenku (South Africa) 11.54
2 Sandra Chimwaza (Zimbabwe) 12.12
3 Nobuhle Ncube (Zimbabwe) 12.15
1 Constance Mkenku (South Africa) 23.43
2 Rachael Nachula (Zambia) 23.45
3 Sandra Chimwaza (Zimbabwe) 24.35 PB
1 Herunga Tjipekapora (Namibia) 53.30
2 Rachel Nachula (Zambia) 53.46
3 Rebecca Nachula (Zambia) 53.95
1 Piuza Lenor (Mozambique) 2:07.40
2 Lebogang Phalula (South Africa) 2:07.80
3 Elizet Banda (Zambia) 2:09.24
1 Mapaseka Makhanya (South Africa) 4:26.25
2 Elizet Banda (Zambia) 4:29.07
3 Lebo Phalula (South Africa) 4:33.74
1 Zintle Xiniwe (South Africa) 17:36.03
2 Mirriam Thole (Malawi) 17:45.43
3 Lucia Chandamale (Malawi) 18:57.02
1 Lineo Shoai (Lesotho) 5.89 (+1.4)
2 Ntunji Chellah (Zambia) 5.67 (+0.1)
3 Namatarai Mavugara (Zimbabwe) 5.58 (-1.8)
1 Namatirai Mavugara (Zimabawe) 12.49 (+1.3)
2 Chipo Pakarimwa (Zimbabwe) 11.33(0.0)
1 Selloane Ts'oaeli (Lesotho) 1.64
2 Setie Augusta (Namibia) 1.60
3 Ntunji Chellah (Zambia) 1.52
1 Sunette Viljoen (South Africa) 56.92
2 Miriam Mukulama (Zambia) 50.30
3 Gadifele Legare (Botswana) 35.65
1 Lindy Agricole (Seychelles) 42.04
2 Charlize van der Linde (Namibia)36.98
3 v eronica abrahamse (South Africa) 36.78
1 Veronica Abrahamse (South Africa) 15.17
2 Ncedie Mngomezulu (Swaziland) 9.59
3 Tlhalefang Seleke Botswana) 9.30
1 Zimbabwe 47.16
2 Zambia 47.21
3 Botswana 49.88
1 Zambia 3:48.60
2 Zimbabwe 4:00.49