Discus record holder now teaches Afrikaans 

Charlene Mouton in action. Photo: Helge Schütz

Namibian women’s national discus record holder Charlene Mouton, formerly Engelbrecht, was a passionate and competent athlete who dominated both the junior and senior events with the impressive national record of 46,66m she set in 2011.

She was coached by her father, Nols Engelbrecht, who was a competitive sportsman who played rugby and was a boxer and wrestler during his younger days.

“I am one of the lucky athletes who actually had a very supportive dad . . . I will never forget the gruelling training regimen, because he believed in hard work,” Mouton says.

She says she was taught to be a tough competitor, but also to accept when she lost against someone who was better than her.

Mouton was born in Windhoek but brought up at Otjiwarongo where she started taking her athletics career seriously.

It was during her Grade 7 year at Otjiwarongo High School that she started to take a keen interest in athletics, especially in the discus, shot-put and pole vault.

“My dad, however, advised me to quit the pole vault because it required a complete technique. Although I still continued to compete in the pole vault until the end of the season in 2006, I quit the discipline in 2007.

“I continued doing athletes at Otjiwarongo high until Grade 10, and then enrolled at the Edugate Academy Private School at Otjiwarongo from Grade 11 until matric.

“By then my athletics career went to another level, because I started winning at the best local events,” she says.

Mouton joined WHS Athletics Club because of a requirement of Athletics Namibia to first belong to a club in order to participate in major athletics events, including the Namibia National Athletics Championships.

Mouton was 17 when she won her first double in both the shot-put and discus at the Bank Windhoek Athletics Grand Prix in Windhoek in 2014.

She won the shot-put with a distance of 14,09m while the discus, which is actually her speciality, saw her throwing an impressive distance of 44,60m.

Her personal best at that time was 48,50m.

Charlene Mouton in action in the shotput event. Photo: Helge Schütz

She dominated both the shot-put and discus items in all most groups.

“I was both the junior and senior discus and shot-put champion in the country at one stage, but despite the dominance, I always pushed myself very hard during practice,” Mouton says.

The three-time Otjiwarongo High School Sportswoman of the Year was also nominated for the Namibian Junior Sportswoman of the Year award after winning the discus at the South African Schools Under-19 Championships in 2013.

She also participated at the prestigious IAAF Junior World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, in 2012, which she describes as an amazing experience.

Mouton, who played netball during the athletics off-season, represented Namibia at junior and senior athletics events in countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, eSwatini, Russia, South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana whom she describes as “always been good hosts”.

Mouton says her most memorable performance race was definitely during the 10th CAA African Junior Championship in Gaborone, Botswana.

“There was this one girl from South Africa I wanted to beat. I just got tired of always coming second after her. I was 17 at the time, and it is an under-19 event.

“I called my dad from Pretoria where I was studying, and told him enough is enough,” Mouton says.

“I really trained very hard with my South African coach because I wanted to be the best in Africa. I didn’t even have a pre-season because I was success-driven.

“I threw the discus 46,66m. It was my personal best, and I beat the girl by a metre. My hard work paid off.”

Another proud moment for Mouton was that she was the only Namibian athlete to return with gold medals after she clinched both the discus and shot-put items during the Zone Six Junior Athletics Championships in Swaziland in 2011.

The Namibian champion was still a student at the University of Pretoria when she sustained a career-threatening injury to her right shoulder in 2014, and she was never the same and decided to stop competing completely in 2016 while still on a high.


“I am married to Werner Mouton, who is a farmer in the Koës district, and we have three lovely children.

“I am currently teaching Afrikaans from Grade 8 to 12 at Elnatan Private School, and I am enjoying my career as a teacher very much,” she says.

Mouton says her biggest challenge is that their home is remote – some 320km from Windhoek and Mariental, and 60km from Elnatan.

She says she still coaches shot-put but regrets not taking the scholarship opportunity she received from Arkansas State University to study and compete in the United States.

“It was in my first year at university in Pretoria. I completed all the forms and I also gave them my shoe and clothing sizes.

“I guess I was too afraid and the idea to go stay far away from my family and country was too overwhelming.”

That’s her biggest regret as an athlete, she says.

Mouton’s advice to young competitors is that they should embrace their God-given talent.

“Athletics is an inspiration platform you can use to influence other people positively. I feel proud to still have the discus record, but I would feel prouder if someone else got it, because it would indicate that Namibia is making progress as a sporting nation.”

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