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The former athletics champion is now a successful rancher – Sports

Who says you can’t be a jack of all trades and also be a master of all? Swakopmund-born former athlete Engelhardt ‘Mini-Mastermind’ Uiseb is a living testimony that you can be a versatile athlete and at the same time excel in all the different sporting codes you practice.

In fact, nothing seemed impossible for the former athlete: from an outstanding 400 and 800 meter runner to practicing karate, becoming a national welterweight boxing champion and winning a major soccer competition; The retired Uiseb did it all.

He began athletics with the late Harry Garus-oab as a fifth grader at Arandis Primary School before joining Ben ‘Kid’ Lentsoane’s karate club and beginning boxing with former Namibian heavyweight champion Abiud Kanambunga .

Uiseb began dedicating more time to athletics when he went to Dibasen Secondary School, now known as Gaob Justus //Garoeb Secondary School, in Okombah.

“I completed my school career at Cornelius Goreseb High School in Khorixas, where I was in contact with good runners like Mike Claasen and Orlando Haraseb, who were formidable runners from Petrus Ganeb High School in Uis. Our clashes were famous during the old Damaraland Amateur Atletiek Sports Vereeniging events, which was a school-only competition in Damaraland under the tribal segregation laws of South African Apartheid before independence,” says Uiseb.

Uiseb, four-time 800 meter champion of the Zone VI Student Games of the Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association (Cucsa) and winner of the prestigious Castle Classic Cup with the now-defunct giant-killers Sorento Bucs in 1991, was a true champion.

“I really worked very hard to achieve all my successes. I wasn’t that kind of person who would go to training camp and slack off. I was lucky to have a great athletics coach like Adios Aochamub and a football coach like the late Jafet ‘Disco’ Hellao,” says Uiseb.

Engelhard Uiseb (second from right) with the giant Sorento Bucs, which won the Castle Classic Cup in 1991. Photo: contribution

The former sports star, who grew up between Okombahe and Uis, won his four gold medals in Cucsa after winning in Zimbabwe (1992), Swaziland (1993), Botswana (1994) and Walvis Bay (1995).

“Of course, I was never a super runner before I decided to do athletics seriously. The talent was always there but still very raw. At first I set myself the challenge of dedicating myself to athletics for only four years and, in fact, I overcame it,” says Uiseb.

“I am living proof that with strong will and hard work, anything is possible in this world. I almost quit athletics the day I ran for the first time against my Unam teammates. I almost lost interest because I finished in a very disappointing seventh place,” she says.

The motivation of Aochamub, whom Uiseb describes as the person with the greatest influence on his athletic career, changed his mind.

Uiseb eventually became a prominent member of the Tertiary Institutions Sports Association of Namibia (Tisan) team that represented Namibia at the Cucsa games.

He set three new records in the three different Cucsa games in 800 meters, with his personal best of 1:49:00 set in 1995, which was also an event record.

“I qualified for the World University Games in Buffalo, New York, after winning my second cold at the Cucsa games in Swaziland in 1993. That was my first trip abroad, which also served as my quest to explore the world. Visiting the United States was a dream come true,” says Uiseb.

Uiseb also says he was responsible for convincing Agnes Samaria, six-time Namibian Sportswoman of the Year and 800m record holder, to consider pursuing an athletics career.

“Agnes loved running, but at first she just did it for fun. I noticed that she was head and shoulders above her peers during informal races on the track during track season,” says Uiseb.

Engelhard Uiseb and Jacqueline Uises on their wedding day in 2020. Photo: contribution

Uiseb, who wants to be remembered as a dedicated and disciplined athlete, married Jacqueline Uises and the couple took early retirement to pursue farming.

Uiseb had five children.

“I’m lucky that everything turned out exactly as I had planned. “I have a successful athletic career, am a qualified registered nurse and can proudly call myself a successful bonsmara farmer,” she says.

“I have maximized production on my farm and although we are in a semi-dry area, water is not currently scarce because I built a man-made well,” says Uiseb.

Also known as the Brave Warriors’ first-team doctor, he was recently called out of retirement by the health director to run the Uis public health clinic.

Uiseb, known for being someone who cannot sit still, is helping coach his former youth team, Imcor Chiefs.

He owns an under-13 football team, known as Uis FC, and a boxing club named after Uis Boxing Club.

“I believe in giving back to the Uis community that has given me so much during my youth. Being so involved in the development of sport in the area is satisfying. I always challenge people to go back to where they came from and come back.

“There is a lot that a retiree can do, especially in rural areas. I am always looking for new talents whether it is athletics, boxing or football and I make sure that they attend the national tests of the different sporting codes that they represent,” he says.

The 1993 Unam Athlete of the Year says he is definitely living his dream, considering where he comes from as a former teacher in Okombahe, of touching the world athletics stages and continental football fields with the Brave Warriors.

“Athletics can take you all over the world, keep doing it, stay away from drugs and alcohol,” says Uiseb, advising young athletes to take their talents seriously.

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