Kinda storms to world title

Chris Kinda and Riwaldo Goagoseb celebrate with the Namibian flag after winning the 400m T11 gold medal. Photo: contributed

Chris Kinda became the latest member of a select group of Namibians who have achieved global champion status yesterday, when he won the men’s 400m T11 gold at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe, Japan.

Namibia reached the podium twice on the third day of the championships, as Lahja Ishitile and her guide Sem Shimanda placed third in in the women’s 400m T11 final.

But it was Kinda, along with his guide Riwaldo Goagoseb, who shone brightest, as the 25 year-old stunned favourite and revered Brazilian Felipe de Souza Gomes to top the podium.

Placed second-last when coming into the home-straight in rainy conditions, Kinda ran a storming last 100m to win in 52,35 seconds, with Manuel Uceda Novas from Spain behind him in 52,61 and Gomes third in 52,65.

“It’s always good to see the new crop of athletes coming through the ranks and winning medals at such big competition, which is good continuity for para sport in Namibia,” says Namibia Paralympic Committee secretary general Michael Hamukwaya.

It appears that Kinda has taken up the baton from veteran Ananias Shikongo, who did not make it past the first round.

The decorated Shikongo could only post a season’s best of 54,17 seconds to finish second in heat 1 earlier on Saturday, missing out on the final.

“The youth shall grow; they only need to be given more exposure in the international competitions,” Hamukwaya says.

“This is good for Namibia and it will encourage a lot of upcoming athletes with impairments in Namibia that it can be done. It is the changing of guards and I am grateful to see this development during my era,” he adds.

Another veteran, Johannes Nambala, could deliver more good news for Namibia today should his health hold up.

“He ran his first heat in the 100m T13, unfortunately, with a flu. It’s very remarkable that he still ran a season’s best. Nambala qualified for the finals in a time of 11,46 seconds. The finals will be run tomorrow evening,” the Namibian athletes’ non-profit organisation Sport On The Move posted on its Facebook page.

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