Kantema-Gaomas commends athletes, B/Warriors

By Michael Uugwanga

DEPUTY Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Emma Kantema-Gaomas has showered praises on the country’s athletes for continuing to put the country on the world map at international stages such as the recently held Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan, the World Athletic U-20 Championships in Kenya and the Diamond League in Switzerland.

At the Olympic Games that were held between July 23 and to August 8, Namibia bagged a silver medal in the Women’s 200m thanks to teenager Christine Mboma, while Beatrice Masilingi managed a sixth place finish.

The two teens then went on to make history in Nairobi at the World Athletics U-20 Championships last month, with Mboma winning the 200m, while Masilingi came in second placed with a silver medal.

The two athletes also won a silver medal in the team’s 4×100 relay that also comprised of other teenagers in Ndawana Haitembu, Carien Oosthuizen and Nandi Vass behind winners Jamaica.

Mboma who continues to make history also won the women’s 200m Diamond League final that was held in Zurich last week, while Masilingi could not run due to health issues.

The two athletes are still in Europe as they are preparing to run in their last two races of the year under the mentorship of coach Henk Botha.

The paralympians also managed to win two medals with Ananias Shikongo winning a silver medal in the men’s T11 400m while Johannes Nambala got a bronze medal in the men’s T13 400m.

Another athlete that is already being compared to Mboma and Masilingi is 15-year-old Efipania Johannes a 100m and 200m sprinter currently in Belgrade, Serbia at the International School Sport Federation (IFS) U-15 World School Sports Games.

Speaking in an interview with Confidente Sport at the launch of the Namibia Annual Sports Expo, Kantema-Gaomas said the success of the athletes is down to the ministry’s sport programme under the Namibian Schools Sports Union (NSSU).

“These are some of the efforts that government is doing …. as government we funded them. They are in Serbia because of the opportunities created by NSSU. I believe that we have really built a sports foundation,” said Kantema-Gaomas.

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On the Brave Warriors, the deputy minister said she is over the moon to see the team doing well in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, after the national team accumulated four points from two matches played so far; a 1-all draw against Congo-Brazzaville on September 3 before the team defeated Togo 1-0 away in Lome.

As a result, the Brave Warriors are two points behind top of the table team Senegal who have six points from two matches and the two countries will meet in a double-header next month.

“You see, when I saw the result I was saying okay, we are getting there. Really these are efforts we have made over the years. These things do not happen overnight. This foundation was built by Ricardo Mannetti (former Brave Warriors coach). And now we can see the progress being made by Bobby Samaria. After beating Senegal at the COSAFA cup, I am no longer afraid of Senegal,” said Kantema-Gaomas.