By Sports Reporter
JAMAICAN-BASED runner, Tjipekapora Herunga still harbours hope of competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The three-time All Africa Games bronze medalist expressed these hopes shortly after finishing fourth in a 400m race in Europe last week.
She clocked a time of 52,60 seconds in a race won by Jamaican and Commonwealth champion Stephanie Ann Mcpherson.
McPherson won the women’s 400m race in 50.98 seconds over Ukrainian Olha Zemlyak (51.18) and Italian Maria Chigbolu (52.02). Herunga ran a steady first 300m only to lose ground to the top three in the last 100m.
After the race, Herunga said: “I am happy to be back in Europe after a three-year absence. We never came to Europe since we went to Jamaica and that has made it very difficult for us to compete with the best. The race was not easy but I am taking it one step at a time. This has been the worst period of my whole life, I missed African Champs in Durban and I was really looking forward to it and then there is the Olympic story that is killing me psychologically.”
She added: “I would have thought my people and country will do everything for me to be in the best shape and condition to stand a chance of competing and improving what I did in London (2012 Olympics), but I was wrong and feel like an outcast. I have received support from friends, family and fans but it’s really hard and traumatising. My training and competitions have been affected severely. The Olympics is days away and I feel like a fool when people ask if am I going and sometimes I wonder what am I training for.
“I know coach Letu (Hamhola) is trying his best but he can just do so much. Where is my country or am I not Namibian anymore? I cry every night and I hope and pray no athlete will have to go through these ever again.”
She said while administrators were fighting she was suffering and had the impression that nobody cares. “At least if I knew what I have done wrong but just to give my best every day for my country. I am far away from my family and I am wondering why did I go to Jamaica for three years. I am really heart broken and sadly if I go to the Olympics some Namibians will be wishing I failed, I know it was the same last year in Congo this has to stop.
“We as athletes need help not this. I have been quiet all this time because I am supposed to concentrate on running and not politics but it’s killing me, I have put in four years of hard work, sacrifices and have qualified three times, it’s my Olympic dream.”
Meanwhile, Confidente has learned that efforts were being made between Athletics Namibia, the Namibia Sport Commission and the Namibia National Olympic Committee to have Herunga included in the Namibian Olympic squad. The Olympic committee had maintained that Herunga’s second qualification at last year’s All Africa games was not recognised, while Athletics Namibia remained adamant that the qualification was good enough.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015