Having already bagged a bronze medal in the men’s T11 100-m race, Namibia’s Paralympic sprint sensation Ananias Shikongo and his trusted guide, Erwin Tjiviju, continue to hog headlines at the ongoing 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
As widely expected, in his impressive performance yesterday Shikongo displayed great authority and fortitude when he swept aside a strong field of equally determined opponents to win the men’s T11 200-m semifinal heat in a time of 22.48-seconds – setting a new Paralympic record.
With the victory, Shikongo booked his place in today’s T11 200-m final and will be expected to deliver the desired results – as he usually does – with many international pundits at the Games in Rio yesterday dubbing him the top favourite to take the gold medal.
Brazil’s Daniel Silva took second place in a time 23.01-seconds, leaving the third place to China’s Di Dongdong, who clocked 23.22-seconds.
Namibia’s sprint legend Frank Fredericks, who is officiating at the Games in Rio, could not contain his excitement yesterday over Shikongo’s breathtaking win and took to Facebook to congratulate his compatriots for a job well done.
“Ananias Shikongo into the 200-m T11 final with the fastest time. That is how you do it. I can sense a world record and gold medal today. All the best! #TeamNamibia,” an excited Fredericks posted on his Facebook page.
In other results, Namibia’s only powerlifter, Ruben Soroseb, unfortunately, did not fare as well as expected yesterday after he finished 9th overall in the men’s 107-kg category, which was won by Pavlos Mamalos from Greece.
Meanwhile, Tobias Moses and his guide, Andre Oberholster, also failed to proceed past Tuesday night’s heat four of the men’s T11 200-m race.
Namibia’s other medals won thus far include a silver by Johannes Nambala in the men’s T13 100-m and a bronze won earlier by Shikongo in the men’s T11 100m race. Nine athletes are representing Namibia at this year’s Games in athletics, swimming and powerlifting. Team Namibia returned with two medals from the 2012 Paralympic Games, one gold and one silver – both won by Johanna Benson. She was expected to compete in a women’s long jump contest last night, but the results were not yet out at the time of going to print.
The Paralympic Games involve athletes from around the world with a range of disabilities and is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). – additional reporting Nampa