Swimmer scoops bronze after two-year absence

• By Michael Uugwanga

TOP para-athlete Mateus ‘Spiderman’ Angula said that winning his first swimming medal this year, after a two-year absence from international competitions since the outbreak of Covid in 2019, feels great and he is happy to be back.

He was on the podium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa after winning a bronze medal in the 50m Backstroke (Senior) at the SA Swimming Championship on April 10.

“I feel so great since it is my first medal this year ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 as I did not go out to compete internationally. I feel so happy. My target this year is to compete in more international competitions and to achieve more personal best times and to win more medals.”

Angula took up swimming in 2016, but before that he was a javelin thrower, and was spotted by Namibia Paralympics Committee official Memory Kahlari who suggested that he switches to para-swimming in order to utilise his upper body strength.

Born without legs he was raised by one of his uncles in Elambo in Oshikoto region.

In 2019, he was ranked number one in Africa in the 50m freestyle.

He also achieved his personal best in the 100m freestyle in a time of 1,48 seconds.

Since his family was unable to afford a wheelchair, Angula’s every move required immense effort and he never considered himself to be different and was always an active child, helping his uncle to herd cattle and goats while his mother worked to raise the funds for his education.

The 28-year-old currently makes a living from his own tuck shop that he runs in Katutura.

“After winning this bronze medal, I am now aiming for bigger things. My aim is always to compete at bigger events like the Paralympics that is why I am targeting at qualifying to the 2024 Paralympic Games in France,” said Angula.

“I do not have a sponsor but I do get some financial assistance from NPC.”

According to NPC, Angula will be among the para-athletes that will be representing the country at the World Championships yet to be confirmed this year.