Benson disappointed at not qualifying for Paralympics

By Michael Uugwanga

GOLD medallist Johanna Benson has described her exclusion from the Paralympics in Tokyo as ‘very sad, painful and disappointing’ after failing to meet the qualification time that could have booked her a place to her third Paralympic Games.

Benson won a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London in the women’s  200m T37 and a silver medal in the women’s 100m T37.

At the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games she failed to defend her title and therefore was looking forward to reclaiming her top position at the Tokyo Paralympic Games scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5.

Speaking to Confidente Sport this week, the 31-year-old, Walvis Bay-born golden girl said that she was disappointed on failing to get a slot at the Paralympics which was also supposed to be her last attendance at the prestigious Games.

“I am not going to the Paralympics. According to the Namibia Paralympic Committee, there are only three slots. I have really worked hard  in competitions that I have participated in only to be told that I am not going. It feels so painful and disappointing not to make it. It was supposed to be my last Paralympic Games.
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“I will still continue to train for other events such as the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the All-Africa Games in the near future,”  she said.

Benson currently works as a full-time assistant human resources officer at Hangana Seafood in Walvis Bay.

“Work has been good and I cannot complain. I am just enjoying quality time with my family,” she added.

Namibia only has three slots at this year’s Paralympic Games with Ananias Shikongo, Johannes Nambala and Lahja Ishitile being the three athletes to represent the country.

Shikongo (35) is heading to Tokyo to try and defend his 200m T11 title he won in Rio, while Nambala will be trying to go better after winning two silver medals in both the 100m and 400m T13.

Nambala (30) will be searching for his first gold medal at the Games.

Ishitile (24) will be looking for her first medal after failing to impress at the Rio Games in the 100m T12.

Ishitile’s best result was at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland where she won a bronze medal in the 100m T12.
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