SPRINT hurdler Andre Retief is working towards qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The 20-year-old won the 400m hurdles in a modest 53,56 seconds at the Athletics Namibia Grand Prix Leg 2 meeting held at Independence Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.
With little in the way of competition on the track in his first race of the season, the hot and humid weather may have contributed to the slow time.
Nonetheless, the Quinton Steele Botes Academy athlete believes he can sufficiently lower his personal best of 51,51 seconds, which he set in Potchesfstroom last year, and realise his dream of qualifying for the Paris Games.
“I’m happy about my time even though I’m a bit unfit still. So, I’ve to keep on training in that aspect,” Retief told reporters after the taxing race.
“The first few hurdles felt a bit higher than the rest which shocked me. But overall, I think it was a good race,” he continued.
“I’m aiming for a flat 50 seconds this year, and if possible go below 50. If I get it below 50 this year or hopefully next year, then I can qualify for the Olympics. The same for the 400m, my PB (personal best) is 46 seconds. So, if I can get to 45 seconds then I can also qualify for the Olympics,” Retief said.
Likewise, women’s 800m winner Tuuliki Angala harbours ambitions of making it to an international competition this year.
She ran two minutes and 14,13 seconds on Saturday, ahead of Nanyukweni Frans (2:17:13), and Saara Shikongo (2:20:61).
“I want to run around two minutes. Last year, I was running two minutes and 17. So, today’s time is good as it means I’m improving. It’s my first race this year, which means I can run faster than I did today if I compete more this year,” Angala said.
“I want to qualify for the World Championships and African Games. So, I will keep working hard and hopefully I can reach the standard.”
Following Saturday’s action, the Unam Athletics Club lead the table with 90 points, followed by the Quinton Steele Botes Academy on 67 and then Namibian Correctional Services on 58. The Namibian Defence Force is bottom of the standings with only two points.
The top three in each discipline on Saturday’s Grand Prix were as follows:
Men’s 5 000m
Paulus Daniel (13:09,62), Paulus Simon (13:37,85), Matheus Jesaya (13:53,89);
Women’s 5 000m
Elizabeth Kalola (18:33,81), Indileni Mweshamekange (18:42.14), Emilia Haufiku (19:09.62);
Shop Put Women
Murine Classen (8,92m), Alma Semual (8,89m), Estomi Katjijova (8,04m);
Women’s Long Jump
Hoveka Hitjivirue (4,92m), Gabrielle Van der Merwe (4,83m), Fabiola Rukoro (4,58m);
Men’s Discus Throw
Benadie Regie (32,56m), Simon Shihepo (30.99m), William van Wyk (30.31m);
Men’s High Jump
Junior Machenje (1,75m), Henry Hansen (1,60m), Tersuan Haack (1,60m);
Haitembu, Ndawana (12,37), Hanganeni Fikunawa (12,46), Hitjivirue Hoveka (13,15);
Elvis Gaseb (10,63), Mahhad Bock (10,64), Wilbard Hamukonda (10,78);
Men’s Long Jump
Skrywer, Jakobus (6,52m), Ruwayno De Koe (6,26m), Tjavaza Lizko Kasuto (6,20m);
Estomi Katjijova (24,99m), Annelize Smith (21,50m), Hella Kuppe (12,67m)
Christine Mukumbi (1:10,66), Kazaatjo Kambiri (1:15,75), Mariska Topnaar (1:20,14);
Andre Retief (53,56), Michael Driemond (56,82), Tangeni Shikongo (1:00,81).
Tuuliki Angala (2:14,13), Nyanyukweni Frans (2:17,24), Saara Shikongo (2:20,61).
Angula Mathew (21:54,06), Tjimatjitjitua Kuhanga (21:56,31), Josef Jonas Erastus(11:57,69);
Jade Nangula Unam Athletics Club 25,23, Ndilimeke Erastus (25,99), Nandi Vass, 26,00;
Elvis Gaseb (21,22), Andre Retief (21,24), Sandro Diergaardt (21,62);
Unam Athletics Club (46,69), Golden Cheetah AC (49,77), Nust Welwitschia 77 AC (51,22)
Namibian Police AC (40,84), Unam Athletics Club (42,15),Nust Welwitschia 77 AC (42,53)