Namibia still chasing a medal

Team Namibia is still searching for a medal at the Olympic Games.

26 July 2021 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

The Olympic Games kicked off on Friday and Namibia is still in search of a medal.

On Friday, rower Maike Diekmann started off Namibia’s participation in the Games when she competed in the heat of the women’s single sculls.

She took the third spot with Magdalena Lobnig of Austria taking the first spot, followed in second by Carling Zeeman of Canada. This performance put Diekmann through to the quarter-finals.

In the quarter-finals she finished fifth, clocking a time of 08:21:69. This means that she is not in the final 12, but she still qualifies to compete in the C/D semi-final for a 13 to 24 ranking. She will compete on Thursday.

On Saturday, cyclist Tristan de Lange, making his Olympic debut, did not finish the gruelling 234 km men’s road race. He put in a great performance but fell to the back of the peloton and was eventually pulled off by the broom wagon with about 122 km to go in the competition.

The race was won by Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz, with the silver and bronze medals going to Belgium's Wout van Aert and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar .

A broom wagon is a vehicle that follows a cycling road race, "sweeping" up stragglers who are unable to make it to the finish within the time permitted.

Proud moment

De Lange got the call to join team Namibia at the last minute after seasoned cyclist Dan Craven tested positive for Covid-19. After the race he said he was super happy with his performance despite the outcome.

“I went into the race with open cards. I spoke a lot with Craven and my coach Geron Swartz about my tactics and strategy and to just to open my eyes to what the road seems like at this high level of road racing.

“The highest level I have done is the 2018 Commonwealth Games and that was the step to the top. I have a lot to learn, considering the fact that I only had a week to prepare for the race mentally. Luckily, I was in great shape. When I got the call to represent Namibia immediately, I turned my priorities to that.

“I took things into my own hands and raced at own pace. I’m happy and proud that it was my Olympic debut,” he said.

On Sunday, Vera Looser competed in the women’s cycling road race (137 km). Looser did not finish the race. She started very well, but also fell to the back of the peloton and was picked up by the broom wagon.

The race was won by Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer; the silver medal went to Annemiek van Vleuten and the bronze was bagged for the second consecutive time by Lisa Longo Borghini of Italy.

What to expect

Today, mountain biker Alex Miller will take on the men’s cross-country race at 08:00. Tomorrow it will be Michelle Vorster’s turn in the women’s cross-country race.

Boxer Jonas Junias got a bye as he is ranked second in the lightweight division (57 – 63 kg). The top three boxers got byes for the round of 32. He will compete on 31 July.

Other Namibian athletes who are still scheduled to compete at the Games are marathoners Helalia Johannes and Thomas Rainold, sprint sensations Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi and open-water swimmer Phillip Seidler.

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