Johannes to defend title

Namibia's queen of road racing, Helalia Johannes, is looking to defend her title on Sunday at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in Japan.

02 March 2020 | Sports

Last year's Commonwealth champion Helalia Johannes, who last year smashed the Namibian record at the Nagoya Women's Marathon with a time of 2:22:25, is set to defend her title on Sunday.

The Japan event is an IAAF Gold Label road race.

Johannes is also gearing up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July, which she has already qualified for.

In last year's race, Johannes was followed home by Kenyan distance runner Visiline Jepkesho in a time of 2:22:58, who finished three seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Valary Jemeli Aiyabei (2:23:01).

Johannes coach Robert Kaxuxuena said the athlete is in top form and will do her best.

Johannes' teammate Reinhold Thomas will also try to qualify for the Tokyo 2020, as he will compete in the men's only Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan, also on Sunday.

The Lake Biwa Marathon is considered to be the oldest marathon held in Japan. In 1962, the marathon moved to Otsu city, which is home to Japan's oldest and largest lake, Lake Biwa.

Since then the race has been renamed the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. The course is comparatively flat and considered to be a fast course.

Many of the world's foremost athletes have taken part in this race and established great records.

“This race will prove to be a tough one for Thomas, as there are very strong contenders in,” said Kaxuxuena.

Thomas needs to beat 2hrs 11min 30 seconds in order to qualify for the Tokyo Games. He said he will try his best in order to make the country proud.

LIMBA MUPETAMI

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