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Was Tji robbed?

by Confidence Musariri


Helalia Johannes won the sportswoman of the year award. Congratulations, but not so quiet. That award belongs to Tjipekapora Herunga.
I tried to go through the stats to compare but still was not convinced.
Helalia in April 2011 won the Two Oceans Half Marathon in Cape Town (1hour 11mins 56sec) for the fourth time over the past six years and in August she won a bronze medal at the World Military Games.
She won a bronze medal at the 2011 All Africa Games in the Women’s Half Marathon.
Her winning time was 43 seconds faster than the previous record set by South Africa’s Rene Kalmer in 2010. Kalmer was second this year (1:12:04) with Zintle Xiniwe third (1:14:58).
But wait a minute Helalia did not win the 2010 Two Oceans because she was not there. She was at Osona Base, so someone had to win it.
She has dominated the Two Oceans for years and I believe she even deserves an Oceans awards for her great feat.  But does that not make it obvious that she is on the rise, perhaps it makes it obvious that the Two Oceans is no longer worth her sweat.  She has to start conquering the world. She can’t be winning only the Two Oceans every year and nothing more at the grand stage, or else we will give her another award next year as she will win the Two Oceans again.
She has won the local Old Mutual Victory Races and will win that race blind folded. Her performance at the World Military Games in Rio de Janeiro was good, she qualified for the 2012 London Olympics, but for Helalia, the question is not on her qualify, she will qualify anyhow, the question is, will she ever win an Olympic medal?
She has been running like this for the past seven years, there is consistency but no continuity in her success.
When she won bronze at AAG (1:11:12) that was her best season record but still 13 seconds outside her national record of 1:10:59.
Tjipekapora Herunga is Namibia’s best athletes to date, no doubt. She won three 400m races at the South African Yellow Pages and came second in two others.
Who does not know that Tjipe is one of the two athletes this year to beat World Champion Caster Semenya in the 800m where she set the 52:32 seconds.
Helalia is a legend just like Agnes Samaria, but Tjipe is re-writing what legends have set. She has obliterated all the records of Agnes Samaria, meaning she qualifies for the Hall of Fame too.
Both of them finished third at the AAG but the input from Tjipe should not go unnoticed.
True, Helalia has come a long way since 2005, but all the races she has won this year, are the same races she has won previously, before she went for military training at Osona and those races she can win them for the coming five years.
We need something new and fresh from Helilia. I would say her Dublin Marathon victory (2:30:37) was the best race this year, and if I am to compare her to Tjipe, I would say Herunga was robbed in broad daylight. That award could not have been shared; Helalia must take it to Tjipe’s house in Katutura.
This June she was at the Southern Region Senior Athletics Championships in Maputo and guess what she won, the 400m gold medal.
 I caught up with her in July before the Koln circuit in Germany where she again won the 400m race and she told me of her AAG ambitions.  She later went to Gladbeck and won the 400m race.
On the eve of the AAG, she was at the World Athletics Championships in Deagu, Korea, and finished 29th. She lost that one.
But like a true champion, it’s not how many you win but how you rise after a defeat. She bounced back in Maputo qualifying with the speed of lightning in the 200m and 400m heats, before finishing third in another recording setting sprint of 51.84.
The only person who beat her in that race was Amanthle Montsho. No one can out-sprint Montsho. Tjipee knows that, but she keeps improving her records and is getting closer by each race to Montsho’s record. That AAG timing is her first under 52 seconds, testimony of how hard she works. Like, Helalia, she has qualified for the Olympics but I have much hope in Tjipee being the first woman to win an Olympic medal for us next year, not our current Sportswoman of the year.
Get me right, Helalia is good, but Tjipee deserves the award. Why do we have to wait until she wins the biggest of all to accord her what is hers? What if Tjipee gets injured before the Olympics?
This year alone, Tjipe set more Namibian records than any other athlete. And she did so with some style.  I feel that we deserved our daughter a chance to feel honoured for all the sweat she endures.
For God’s sake, Helalia is a soldier. Sport is now her second career. Tjipe only survives on the little proceeds from Frankie Fredericks Foundation.
Still on the awards, how does someone manage a thing called the Namibia Amateur Swimming Union (NASU) win administrator of the year.
What is NASU? What are you administering when your activities are not known but only known at the awards?
Then we have Hasso Ahrens winning the coach of the year for being the most successful clay target shooting nation in Africa. How many people are participating in this sport? Gaby Ahrens who I assume to be related to old Hasso, has been winning and representing the nation all over and that must be applauded, but why do we says Hasso wins coach of the year when these are genes at work?
By the way, thanks KK for finally pitching up to a sport event, pity its the end of the year but thanks anyway, Honourable Minister.