Namibians chase Olympic spot

Rainhold Tomas in action. File photo

Four Namibian long distance runners aim to make the Paris Olympics through a strong showing at the Durban International Marathon this weekend.

They are Rainhold Tomas, Josef Paulus, Jeremia Shaliaxwe and Paulus Iyambo – who are all vying for the three available Olympic spots for Namibia at Sunday’s event, which doubles as the 2024 Athletics South Africa (ASA) National Championship.

It also serves as an official Comrades and Two Oceans qualifier.

To qualify for the Olympics, the athletes need to run inside two hours, eight minutes and 10 seconds or faster.

Tomas, who has represented the country at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games before, has set his sights on once again donning the national colours on a global stage.

He has a personal best time of 02:02:21, which he ran in Siena, Italy, in 2021.

He says he has prepared well and is looking forward to representing his country at the Durban International Marathon.

“So far, training is going well. I am looking forward to the competition. I know it’s not going to be an easy event but I am going to give it my best to run an Olympic qualifying time,” says Tomas, who competes under the Namibia Correctional Service domestically and under the Nedbank Running Club banner abroad.

Tomas recently ran 1:05:59 in the Kazungula Bridge Half Marathon in Botswana, where he finished in fifth position.

Conversely, his Nedbank Running Club mate Paulus will be making his debut as a marathon runner but intends to push himself to the limit.

“I have been training for three months for this marathon and I feel ready to compete in my first marathon. Probably, I will run an Olympics qualifying time so I can represent my country at the Olympics,” Paulus says.

Paulus has a personal best time of 1:02:51 in the half-marathon, which he clocked while competing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon in 2022.

“I usually compete in distance track events and then the half-marathon, but my coach told me to change and try out the full marathon, which I believe I can do and hope to do with a better personal best,” Paulus says.

The team will depart for Durban, South Africa, today.

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