Johannes to run in 10km, 21km before Olympics

By Michael Uugwanga

ROBERT Kaxuxuena, coach of the country’s top female long distance runner Helalia Johannes who came third at the Valencia Marathon in Spain in December, has said that as part of the athlete’s preparations to next year’s Summer Olympic Games, Johannes will be running in the 10km and 21km races.

Johannes finished the race in a time of 2:19:52; with this achievement Namibia also became the third African country to break the 2:20 barrier in women’s marathon after Kenya and Ethiopia.

The 2:19:52 barrier is also Johannes’s personal best as she is seemingly getting better by the day.

Johannes, who in 2019 won a bronze medal at the World Athletics Championships (WAC) in Doha , will be expected to be one of the favourites in the women marathon at this year’s Summer Olympic in Japan to win a medal.

The rescheduled international multi-sport event is scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 2021 in Tokyo.

Kaxuxuena in December said that he is proud of Johannes’ performance.

“For this year I can say that she did exceptionally well, but for next year, I am looking to the 10km and 21 km races before the Summer Olympic Games. For now I am just waiting to see what is next for her,” he said.

When asked if Johannes could have won the race in Spain, Kaxuxuena said that it was an open race and that any of the top three athletes could have taken top spot.

“Nothing went wrong. It was just a fast race and as I have earlier alluded I am very happy that she beat the national record and the first Namibian woman to run under 2H20 in a marathon and in the SADC region as a whole. She really made history.”

Kaxuxuena also thanked Namibians for their support for Johannes who could go down in the local sporting fraternity as perhaps the best athlete in the country after legendary sprinter Frank Fredericks, who is to date the greatest athlete ever to come out of Namibia.

In 2018, Johannes also won a gold medal in the women marathon at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, in a time of 2:32:40.

“I would like to thank all her supporters for their continuing support towards her as she never disappoints the nation whenever she goes out of the country to represent the nation,” said Kaxuxuena.