By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA’s Paralympian Ananias Shikongo is the country’s only gold medal hopeful at this year’s Commonwealth Games, scheduled to kick-off in Gold Coast, Australia with the first batch of athletes having left for the games on Sunday.
In an interview with Confidente this week, the Namibia Olympic Committee (NOC) Secretary General Joan Smit confidently said that Shikongo was likely to bring home a gold medal from the spectacle.
Smit said Namibia’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games went extremely well, while the marathon runners who attended training at the High Performance Centre in Potchefstroom, South Africa were expected to jet-off on Friday 30 March.
She said the cyclists will depart on Monday 02 April, after their final competition. The Namibia Olympic Committee secretary general said the qualification process for this year’s Commonwealth Games was extremely high.
“It was very high especially for Shikongo but I am, however, confident of our athletes doing very well at the games.
“I am very happy with the physical preparedness and that their fitness level is commendable. They are I must say prepared for the battlefield and will show us what they are capable of achieving.
“This is the team we will prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games. As you know the dreams of these athletes is to win medals at the Olympic Games,” she said.
Smit said the athletes were extremely motivated along with the marathon runners who recently returned from Potchefstroom.
“Shikongo had his preparation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates while the cyclists will compete in their final tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa before leaving for Australia. Smit added.
She, however, expressed dissatisfaction at the preparation of the boxers, but pinned her hope on Tryagain Ndevelo.
Smit said Jonas Junias Jonas is still the same boxer he was at the Olympic Games, and is going to defend his silver medal at the games.
She said the cyclists were technically ready for the showdown while another medal hopeful Helalia Johannes, who finished fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil really want to improve on her last finish. Johannes was nursing a torn muscle during the Olympic Games in Brazil.
Smit said though the International Paralympic Committee made the qualifications extremely high, she was confident that the Namibian team would bring home medals especially from Shikongo who in 2016 won medals in Rio.
The Namibian team will have Jesse Schickerling, as the chef de mission while both Christine Nashenda and Nicolene Labuschagne are the physiotherapist and team doctor respectively.
Unlike in the past when an unwanted number of officials accompanied the team, this year will only see three officials leaving with the team.
Unfortunately there was no official send-off of the Namibian team as the event scheduled for last Friday was unceremoniously cancelled with no valid explanation given.
The Namibian team consists of Jesse Schickerling (chef de mission), Leoni van Rensburg (official), Tjeripo Musutua (official), Christine Nashenda (physiothepist) and Nicolene Labuschagne (team doctor).
The athletes include: Madeleine Kotze (manager), Robert Kaxaxuene (coach), Helalia Johanne, Ndeshimona Ekandjo, Lavinia Haitope, Paulus Iiyambo, Reonard Namupele, Uveni Kungongelwa, Roger Haitengi and Hardus
Bowls: Sheena du Toit (athlete/ manager), Johanna van den Bergh (women’s fours and Triples), Anuleen Viljoen (women’s triples), Lesley Vermeulen (women’s triples and fours), Graham Snyman (athlete/manager), Carel Olivier (men’s fours and men’s triple), Douw Calitz (men’s fours and men’s triple) and Willem Esterhuizen (men’s fours and men’s triple)
Boxing: Israel Hamutumbengela (manager), Kashera Shiyemo (coach), Matias Hamunyela, Tryagain Ndevelo and Jonas Junias Jonas
Cycling: Irene Steyn (manager), Hans du Toit (coach), Tjipekapora Murangi (mechanic), Michelle Vorster (road race and mountain bike), Dan Craven (road race), Martin Freyer (time trials and road race), Drikus Coetzee (time trial and road race) and Tristan de Lange (road race and mountain bike)
Gymnastic: Lindsey Adams (manager) and Robert Honiball (artistic gymnastics)
Para sport: Barbara Fernadez (coach), Ananias Shikongo (T12 100m and 200m) and Even Tjiviju (guide)
Triathlon: Erna Burger (coach) and Jean-Paul Burger (men’s single race).
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015