Tokyo 2020 dream is 'alive'

Namibia's dream of sending more athletes to the Olympics is not over as there are still many qualifying events lined up.

13 February 2020 | Sports

The Namibia National Olympics Committee (NNOC) is confident that more Namibians will qualify to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

As things stand, Namibia has only booked four spots to one of the world's biggest sporting spectacles, which is slated for Japan in July.

The country is racing against time to get more spots at the Olympics.

The committee targets eight places which are still up for grabs before the competition kicks off.

NNOC secretary-general Joan Smit said the committee remains optimistic about Namibia securing more spots at the Olympics.

“We all know that only four spots have been guaranteed so far but we definitely anticipate more athletes to qualify.

“The committee received several calls from people, asking us what is going on. We can say that all things are in place.

“Our chef de mission Dawie Augustyn was in Japan for a seminar last year and we can also announce that we have already booked places where the athletes are going to stay, even if it is based on estimations,” Smit said.

Only marathon queen Helalia Johannes, rower Maike Diekmann, cyclist Vera Adrian (given a place because of her world ranking) and another male cyclist still to be confirmed have booked their places to the games thus far.

There are however still competitions available outside Namibia for athletes aspiring to qualify.

Three boxers Jonas Junias, Tryagain Ndevelo and Nestori Thomas will travel to the African Championships in Dakar, Senegal, this month to battle for qualification spots.

Marathon runner Thomas Reinhold will have to get 2:11:30 at the Otsu Marathon in Japan on 8 March to qualify.

Namibia's sensational 17-year-old sprinter Beatrice Masilingi has two possible qualifications events in South Africa and Germany next month.

Masilingi will only be able to qualify for Tokyo if she records 22.80 seconds in the 200-metre race or 51.35 seconds in the 400m.

Swimmers Phillip Zeildler and Alexander Skinner are also among those in contention to make it to Japan.

Zeildler will compete in a 10km open water competition in Japan between 30 and 31 May, and will have to finish in the top nine to qualify.

Skinner will compete in the 100m freestyle competition in South Africa and is required to finish in the top three to book his place to Japan.

Wrestler Romeo Goliath, who won a silver medal at the African Championships in Algeria last week, heads to Morocco next month for qualifiers.

“Namibia will be hosting an Africa trampoline and tumbling tournament in May at the Dome at Swakopmund.

“This will give our gymnasts a huge chance to qualify to the Olympics given that they will be having the backing of fans at home.

“We are very happy because this is a very big opportunity for Namibians to do well and qualify given the home-ground advantage,” Smit added.

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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