A sensational achievement

 

Rudi Bowe

Namibia’s two young sprinting sensations, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi pulled out all stops for a sensational achievement against the world’s best female sprinters at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics 200m final on Wednesday, 3 July 2021.

Christine Mboma made history as she become the first Namibian in 25 years to win a medal at the Olympic Games since Frank Fredericks in line 5 won the silver medal in the men’s 200m final at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Mboma, also in line 5 became the first Namibian woman to win a medal at the Olympic Games when she finished second and claimed the silver medal in the women’s 200m final with a time of 21.81 seconds.

Mboma made additional history as she became the first African woman to run sub-22 seconds. She also set a new 200m world under-20 record two times on Monday, 2 August – first slashing the old record of 22.18sec when she clocked 22.11sec in Heat 4 then breaking it again in the semi-final with a time of 21.97sec and then in the final she did it again, breaking the under 20 record in a time of 21.81 seconds.

It was a bright day for Namibian athletics as Namibia’s other participant in the 200m final, Beatrice Masilingi finished sixth in a new personal best time of 22,28 seconds. She was first to qualify for the final when she finished in second place, clocking 22.40sec behind Jamaica’s Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who ran 22.13sec in semi-final 1.

 

Christine Mboma told Athletics Weekly shortly after the 200m race that she is very happy and did not expect to win a medal at the Olympics.

Mboma said “I came here to gain experience and did not expect to win.”

Mboma told AFP “I liked this race. It was tough, but I’m happy to have set the world junior record. I broke it in my heat and to do it in the semi and in the final as well, is crazy.”

“I can do better” Mboma concluded.

The coach of Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma, Henk Botha said the whole experience for the Namibian sprinters is just phenomenal and he is very proud and still with their heads in the clouds with happiness.

Botha said, “The two girls gave their best from the start to the end.”

On Masilingi’s performance in the final, Botha said, “She executed the race perfectly she how-ever could have done better in the last part of the bend, but she worked hard and did very well. She ran one of the fastest times for an under 20 girlin the world.”

“Mboma also executed all her races perfectly and like she said it is crazy to break the under 20 world records in just one and a half days which made her the fastest under 20 girl in the world.”

“I knew that even her late start in the final, with her strong finish she will chase her opponents down, and that’s precisely what she did” Botha said.

Botha added that both these girls are still very young and there is still allot off work that they need to do to be the best sprinters in the world.

“All I can say is that the girls sacrificed their lives on the track and ran like monsters – for themselves of course, but also for Namibia and for the pride of the nation,” said Botha

Botha concluded by saying “They made me a very proud coach and I am very happy to be part of their journey. We would like to thank all Namibians for supporting and helping us on this journey.”

Namibian President Hage Geingob, on his Facebook page congratulated Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi and their coach Henk Botha.

President Geingob said, “We are extremely proud for being outstanding ambassadors of our country, you have flown the Namibian flag very high.”

“Masilingi, you put up a brave performance in the 200m finals, even if you didn’t walk away with a medal, the future is bright for you” Geingob said.

Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) said on their Facebook page “We are proud to be part of this historic and great success of our rising sprint sensation and Olympic Silver medallist.”

NSC said “Together with our stakeholders we celebrate this historic achievement and are indebted to you all for having walked with us on this journey. Thank you all for believing, supporting and empowering our girls all way. Beatrice and Chris-tine (Tokyo 2020 Silver medallist) you have made our nation proud and Coach Henk Botha, you have made our nation proud. Thank you for nurturing these exceptional talents.”

Next up for Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi is the 2021 World Athletics U20 Championships, taking place from 17 to 22 August 2021 at the Nyayo Sports Complex in Nairobi, Kenya.

Meanwhile the Swakopmund’s Phillip Seidler came 16th in the 10km Marathon Swimming event at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, 5 July, finishing 4 minutes 40,4 seconds behind the winner Florian Well-brock of Germany in a time of 1h48m33.7.

The other Swakopmunder at the 2020 Olympics Namibian boxer Jonas Junias Jonas’ medal dreams were crushed by Australian boxer Harry Garside in the men’s light-weight bout of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Saturday 31 July as he lost 5-0 in the Round of 16.

Namibian rower, Maike Diekmann finished her last race at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games on Friday, with a sixth place in the C Finals and an 18th position out of 32 rowers overall.

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