Hainuca’s fast time ‘not official’

Gilbert Hainuca in action. Photo: Helge Schütz

Sprinter Gilbert Hainuca lit up the track as he equalled Frank Fredericks’ 100m national record, while three more records were established at the National Senior Championships over the weekend.

However, his superb 9,86 seconds winning time does not officially stand given the strong tailwind on the day.

It was the first time that Hainuca had gone under 10 seconds, while he also equalled Fredericks 28-year-old national record which he set at the 1996 Olympics.

Hainuca already served notice of his intentions when he broke his personal best with a time of 10,15 in the preliminaries, which set the stage for a brilliant 100m final, where he exploded out of the blocks and pulled away from the chasing pack to break the tape and stun the crowd.

Athletics Namibia secretary general Martha Emvula however confirmed that the blistering time will not be officially recognised as per World Athletics regulations, which contest that the wind can add or lessen resistance for an athlete depending on the event.

Hainuca had a 4,9m/s tail wind behind him.

“If the wind exceeds the 2,0 m/s threshold in an event, the result in said event is not legal for World Athletics authenticated events. All participants in the specific event faced the same wind that exceeded the limit. Of course a headwind would be the opposite. -2.0 etc,” Emvula said.

Nonetheless, Fredericks was on hand to congratulate Hainuca saying: “Absolutely brilliant. Once you get that sort of time out of the system, breaking that ten second barrier, you can really push to get better times.”

The time was comfortably inside the Olympic Games qualifying mark of 10,00 seconds. But he will have to try again to join long distance swimmer Phillip Seidler to represent Namibia at the Paris Olympics.

“This [Hainuca’s run] and the few athletes who had great performances yesterday are a good indication of the potential we have to qualify for the Olympics Games. So, we need to just work harder to see how we can get these athletes more competitions and more training to qualify,” said Emvula.

Three other records were established – all in field events. Cornelius Kuhn, who earlier this year equalled Derreck Wiggill’s 55-year-old shot put record of 17,10m, smashed that by 44cm on Friday to set a new mark of 17,54m.

Kuhn, who is only 22 years old, and another protege of well known coach Henk Botha, said their working relationship has been great.

“Oh it’s been great, since last year when coach Henk and I started working together we said this is our goal, and finally we reached it now. It’s good to be part of Namibia’s history, it’s our land and I’m proud of my country,” he said.

“We’ve been putting in the work, we have our off days, but we are just striving to get better every day, and to improve ourselves,” he added.

Another one of Botha’s athletes, the even younger 18-year-old Annelize Smith, broke the women’s hammer throw record for the second time this year.

Two months ago she broke Nadine van der Merwe’s 29-year-old national record of 33,24m with a mark of 34,85m, but on Saturday she improved that by more than a metre with a new mark of 36,03m.

“I’ve been practising hammer throw since 2021 and just continued working hard. This was my goal, to get the senior record, it’s been a lot of work and a lot of technical things, but we finally made it,” she said.

The third record went to Frieda Iithete, who broke her own triple jump record of 12,11m with a new mark of 12,30m. Iithete, who also won the women’s long jump with a distance of 5,64m, said it was high time that she broke her own record.

“I broke the record two years ago, so I had to improve it, and I did,so I’m happy with my jumps. There was a strong wind, but the jumps were great and I had the power. I’ve been training alot so I’m improving and every new PB (personal best) is a new national record now,” she said.

There were also good performances by Elvis Gaseb, who won the men’s 400m in 45,97 seconds – just outside Mahmad Bock’s national record of 45,80 seconds – and Lionel Coetzee, who came close to his own long jump record of 8,27m with a leap of 8,10m, but star sprinter Christine Mboma is still clearly below her best. She won double gold in the 100m and 200m sprints, but her times of 11,62 and 24,10 seconds respectively are still well off the Olympic qualifying marks of 11,07 and 22,57seconds.

After her 200m race, her coach Botha, however, said he was not too concerned about her time.

“Obviously the time is not what we know Christine can run, and what she used to run in the past, but as I’ve said on various platforms, the fact is that she came back from injury a month ago – it was a serious quad injury and we have only been training for a month now, so for me that’s good enough and we will have her ready by the end of May. By roughly the 15th of May we will move to Europe, to start planning and training in Germany, and then to do various competitions,” he said.

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