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Heunis and Papo dominate first event in MTB Challenge series

Heunis and Papo dominate first event in MTB Challenge series

Two leading national mountainbike riders, Jeanne Heunis and Xavier Papo vividly demonstrated their dominance on the last day of March when the first race in the 2018 Gravel & Dirt MTB Marathon series was held in Swakopmund.

The West Coat MTB Challenge drew an unprecedented 320 riders, a clear indication of how the sport’s popularity has exploded over the past decade.

Papo bagged the Elite Men’s title in a time of 2:42:58, seven minutes ahead of Danzel de Koe and nine minutes later, Ruan van Staden crossed the finish line. In the final sprint on the last straight, Papo was challenged by two riders in other categories, Fanie Steenkamp, a veteran rider and Ingram Cuff in the sub veteran category.

Steenkam won the Veteran Men’s category with Jacques Celliers and Clinton Hilfiker second and third. Cuff won the Sub Vet Men’s category.

Irene Steyn was the only woman to compete in the 75km Elite Women but she still booked a respectable time of 3:16:46. In the 35km Open Woman’s category, Anneke Steenkamp took the laurels, however the real action took place in the 35km Junior Women’s category with Cindy Rowland in the lead, chased hard by Marlynne Brandt and Eljanie Swart.

In the Sub Vet Woman, Jeanne Heunis rode an incredible time of 3:12:23, a full eleven minutes faster than her closest rivals, Luanne Van Der Schuff and Rosi Hennes in second and third, and four minutes faster than Steyn.

The full results are available at

Although the arduous track produced some incidents, no rider was seriously injured.

The West Coast MTB Challenge was sponsored by Hollard Insurance, Mannies Bike Mecca, Food Lovers Market, Pupkewitz Megabuild, West Coast FM, Spur Swakopmund, EPIEQ Sport Nutrition, Swakopmund Plaza Hotel, Cycles 4 U and Herco Marketing.

“An event of this scale cannot happen without the support of like-minded companies who understand the value of investing into the local Namibian MTB circuit, and the riders that represent it,” stated series sponsor, Hollard Insurance.

Caption, Jeanne Heunis (right) won the 75km Sub Vet Women’s category in the recent West Coast MTB Challenge in a time some four minutes faster than the winning time of Irene Steyn who won the Elite Women’s category. Here Heunis is accompanied by fellow rider, Alfons Kiesewetter. (Photograph courtesy of Fotografika)



About The Author

Sport Contributor

The Economist does not have a dedicated sport reporter. This designation is used for several contributors who want their sport stories in the Economist. Experience has taught us that companies usually want their sport sponsorships published prominently, being the reason for a sports category. It now also carries general sport items but only those with direct Namibian relevance. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.