Namibia: launch of the Nedbank Desert Dash
THE Nedbank Desert Dash will be held for the 16th consecutive year, and for the sixth year with Nedbank as title sponsor, from Friday December 11 to Saturday December 12.
The event, which is the world’s longest single-stage mountain bike race, covers 373 km from Windhoek to Swakopmund, with cyclists crossing the mountains from Khomas Hochland and across the Namib Desert to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.
Speaking at the launch in Windhoek on Monday, Nedbank Namibia Managing Director Martha Murorua said that despite the uncertainties of 2020, they will go ahead with the iconic race.
“Where we couldn’t say for a few weeks with absolute certainty that we will even have a 2020 edition of the Nedbank Desert Dash … I can now confirm that we will have just over 1,000 riders competing this year, after the final registrations were completed a few days ago, ”she said.
Murorua confirmed that 212 solo riders, including 18 female riders, have registered, along with 126 two-person teams and 134 four-person teams, while international riders will account for 35% of the overall total.
Sports Minister Agnes Tjongarero, who also attended the event, said the Desert Dash has always attracted the best international riders, which has given Namibian cyclists the opportunity to compete against the best in the world.
“Even with the current global uncertainties regarding international travel, the organizers have informed me that approximately 35% of this year’s participants will be international runners,” she said.
Around 290 cyclists have South African nationality, with Germany and the United Kingdom represented by 18 and 12 riders respectively. I have to say I’m really excited to see other runners from our continent joining us this year, with Botswana, Malawi, Angola and Zimbabwe all represented at this year’s Nedbank Desert Dash ”, a- she said, adding that there were also cyclists from Austria, Canada, Spain and Portugal as well as a Congolese cyclist.
Tjongarero said Konny Looser, who has won the solo race for the past five consecutive years, is expected to be back to defend his title, while some of Namibia’s top cyclists will be in action in the two-man event. These include Namibian cycling Olympian Dan Craven who will team up with African mountain bike champion Tristan de Lange, and Namibian mountain bike Olympian Alex Miller who will team up with Braam Vermeulen.
She added that the government will keep in touch with the organizers to ensure that the Covid-19 regulations are respected.
It is nice to know that the Nedbank Namibia team have kept in touch with Fred Mwiya and his team at the Namibia Sports Commission to keep an eye on the sporting regulations, and I appreciate this professional courtesy. Likewise, the commitment of the organizers of the Nedbank Desert Dash to fully reimburse the registration fees of all participants when the online registration opens in June of this year, has shown me that they comply with the regulations. that Covid-19 imposed on us.
“I assure you that the Government of Namibia is keeping a watchful eye on these developments and we will continue to inform the organizers of any possible changes in this regard. At this point, we are confident that all applicable regulations will be observed by the organizers, ” she said.