OKONGO, 10 MAY – Some athletes who participated in the Daniel Kashikola Marathon held at the Okongo Constituency in the Ohangwena Region on Saturday chastised organisers for the “worthless” prizes awarded.
They also described the event as “unprofessionally administered”.
Overall winner in the 21.1 kilometre (km) race, Gabriel Djuulume, was awarded a mere N.dollars 700, a trophy and a gold medal as top prize, despite sponsorship of over N.dollars 50 000 for the event. Trophies and medals were sponsored by the Okongo Village Council.
Mweuyehafo Joseph, Rauna Lukas and Leticia Stefanus, who were the only three participants in the 21.1km women’s category, only received N.dollars 50, N.dollars 100, and N.dollars 150; this after the trio protested for not being awarded prizes after the race.
“We registered with N.dollars 50 each to participate and completed the race, but to our surprise they did not recognise us with awards for the reasons only known to them,” said the three athletes in an interview with Nampa at the end of the competition.
Another disgruntled athlete, Martin Kalwenya, was not happy with the main 42km (marathon) race being called off.
“We were three athletes who pitched up for the 42km, just to be told at the beginning of the competition that it was cancelled,” Kalwenya said, adding this forced them to participate in the 21.1km race.
The prizes were never made public before the event, which also included 10km and 5km races for both men and women.
On his part, chief organiser Simon Gabriel told Nampa on enquiry Tuesday the marathon for men and women was cancelled as only three athletes turned up for each of the said races.
Namib Desert Diamond sponsored the championship with more than N.dollars 36 000, International Commercial sponsored N.dollars 9 200, businessman Peter Shambo contributed some N.dollars 2 600 and N.dollars 3 000 from a Chinese business at Okongo.
Gabriel said only N.dollars 13 000 of the sponsorship went to prizes, while the rest was used in the organisation of the event, food, drinks, accommodation and transport.
More than 480 athletes participated in the race that took place for the first time in Okongo.
The marathon is named after Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, Daniel Kashikola.