Athletes having a ball in Kenya

Iréne-Mari van der Walt
The young Namibian athletes who received running shoes with the help of benefactors to participate in the International School Sports Federation's World Cross Country Championships in Kenya had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, their coach Edward Kapewasha says.
He says the group, which consisted of six athletes, enjoyed sightseeing in the Nairobi National Park and were exposed to various cultures during a cultural evening. It was the first time that all six athletes travelled outside Namibia.
"The trip was an adventure. The team represented Namibia with pride. The experience we gained is something we can build on in the future, with off-road races that need development in Namibia," he says.
Although the Namibians could not achieve top results at the event, Kapewasha is proud of what the group achieved against the countries that were present at the event.
"The team's performance was satisfactory when we look at the giants in the sport, such as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Morocco," says Kapewasha, adding that the team also received training against the use of banned substances and how to protect themselves in sports circles.
"The event was not only about the competition, but also an opportunity for athletes from all over the world to interact with each other," says Kapewasha.
Kenyan President William Ruto, also attended the official opening of the event and planted a tree to mark the occasion.
Last Wednesday, Nestory Shilamba and Johannes Jeremia were about to leave for Kenya without running shoes and would have had to participate in the championships barefoot if there had not been urgent intervention. Namibians reacted to their plight on social media and within hours both athletes were boasting a brand new pair of running shoes and accessories. – [email protected]