Athletes target medals at junior championships
By Michael Uugwanga
COACH of Beatrice Misilingi and Christine Mbonga, has said that despite the two female athletes having the potential to win medals at a major event such as the Olympics, the aim for this year is to win medals at the rescheduled World Athletics U20 Championships (Junior World Championships) in Kenya.
The championships will bring together the world’s finest athletes under the age of 20 and will be held at the Nyayo Sports Complex in Nairobi, Kenya from August 17 to 22.
Misilingi qualified for the 100m, 200m and 400m while Mbonga qualified in the 400m and 800m for Kenya.
The event which was set for last year was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Misilingi, who is turning 18 this year, holds the Namibian record in the 100m, 200m and 400m races and is already being compared to legendary sprinter Frank Fredericks.
Her record in the 100m is 11.38 was attained last year December, to equal Globine Mayova’s record she achieved in 2013.
In the 200m, Misilingi is currently holding the record with a time of 22.94, a record she surpassed last year after she broke Mayova’s 23.34 record set in 2013, while Misilingi has also broken Tjipekapora Herunga’s 400m time of 51.24 to her current two records she achieved last year, first in Nairobi and in Pretoria.
Last Saturday, Misilingi who has already qualified to the Tokyo Olympics later this year in the 400m, could not surpass the 22.94 record in Swakopmund at Athletics Namibia grand prix leg 1 on March 13 after clocking in a time of 23.94 in the women’s 200m.
She also failed to replicate her 100m record after finishing the women’s 100m heat in a time of 11.79.
Mbonga who is yet to qualify to the Tokyo Games was using the grand prix as an opportunity for her to qualify, however she could only clock 51.59 in the women’s 400m despite winning the race.
Speaking to Confidente Sport, Henk Botha, coach of the two athletes said they will be looking at the Junior World Championships as a starting point for success, although he said that the Olympics Games always remain a priority.
“Olympics are a big thing for us. The target for Beatrice was to see that we can get her as close as possible to the finals at the Olympics. For Christine it is to win medals at the world juniors championships, as both girls have qualified for the event.
“Beatrice in the 200m … we will be working on that so that she qualifies to the Tokyo Games in the 200m since she has already qualified in the 400m. For Christine a kid who is 17 years of age, it is excellent to get 51.59.
“I had a discussion with the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) so that we go train in Europe for like 14 days. We are planning such a tour end of April before we leave for the United States for another training camp,” said Botha.