Windhoek-After his 2016 Rio Olympics participation was sadly blemished by allegations of sexual harassment that resulted in a marathon court case, Namibia’s most adored amateur boxing sensation Jonas Junias Jonas says his 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal raving performance is what his “witch-hunters” feared to witness in Brazil.
Jonas, a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, and fellow 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Helalia Johannes, yesterday led Team Namibia’s return from the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia, where the country finished 19th overall on the medals table.
Heaps of local sport enthusiasts, family members and general members of the public yesterday swarmed Hosea Kutako International Airport on the outskirts of Windhoek to grant Team Namibia, particularly Jonas and Helalia, a hero’s welcome and congratulate the athletes firsthand as they touched down on home soil.
And while the entire country is still ululating and basking in the historic achievements of the two athletes, for Jonas it was more than just scooping a gold medal at the just ended multi-sport international games. For the 24-year-old nimble-fingered pugilist it was about redemption and breathing a gush of fresh air into his blossoming boxing career.
Heading to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there was never doubt that Jonas was one of Namibia’s top medal hopefuls but a dramatic twist of events on the sidelines of the Olympics saw the young fighter being arrested over allegations of having sexually harassed a housemaid, leading to his emotional derailment that later saw him knocked out of the games via a defeat.
In a brief, moving speech yesterday, a partly teary-eyed Jonas said “they robbed me of this opportunity in Brazil (2016) but they could not stop me this time around”, adding that his recent gold medal winning performance in Australia was not birthed this year but was a manifestation of all the hard investments since 2014 when he was preparing for the 2016 Olympics, where he never really got a chance to display his full potential to the world.
“I did it this time … I want to cry when I reflect on what they did to me in Brazil and how they robbed me of an opportunity but this time they couldn’t stop me,” reflected an emotional Jonas as he paused to leap back to his seat.
Team Namibia was warmly received and congratulated by the line minister Erastus Uutoni and his deputy Agnes Tjongarero as well as senior staff members of the ministry, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC).