‘Mishap’ mars Mboma return 

Christine Mboma (right) in action at the Kip Keino Classic. File photo

Christine Mboma thought she pulled a muscle during her comeback race at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday, which contributed to a sluggish performance that saw her finish the women’s 100m in last place.

Following a World Athletics enforced absence of one year and eight months, Mboma finished eighth in 12,32 seconds – over a second behind African Games 100m and 200m champion Gina Miriam Bass, who ran 11,33 seconds to win the dash.

It appears Mboma has not gotten over suffering the traumatic injury she sustained at the same meet two years ago.

The Olympic 200m silver medallist hinted as much in the build-up to the comeback race, saying she has “flashbacks” of that infamous moment in 2022 when she pulled up and collapsed in agony on the track.

That fear of getting injured again threw Mboma’s form off, which saw her unable to keep pace with her rivals or get close to the time she intended to run, her coach, Henk Botha, says.

Still hopeful of making it to the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, Mboma may not have been mentally tuned in to Saturday’s event, he says.

“Thank you for all your support, but this was not the result we wanted,” Botha said in his post-race analysis.

“It was not about winning. We were to run about 11,3 (seconds) to 11,4, but it seems there was a mishap in the event.

“And, I also think that mentally Christine didn’t know how big this was until she reached the track. When she entered the track you could see she wasn’t actually even running on the track, she was just walking,” he said.

While mindful of the expectations, given her outstanding track record, Mboma said completing the race was a win for her.

“It feels good to run again and finish the race. I have just returned, and this is actually the most important. I know what to work on, since 200m is where my heart is,” Mboma told reporters.

Botha said he was not making excuses for the underwhelming performance, but in the absence of the 200m on the roster, Mboma had to run the shorter distance, which does not suit her attributes.

It was always going to be a tough ask to expect the Mboma of old in her first race back, given the extended time on the sidelines, the coach said.

“This is our first step, and we know it’s going to be a difficult task. She also told me the lane number came off her left thigh and she then thought her upper muscle went because she felt something, and when she realised that she was in a bit of shock.

“Then the race just went out,” Botha said.

“You can’t make mistakes, there’s no room for mistakes, it’s not the same as the 200m. Anyhow, we don’t want to make excuses, it’s back to the blackboard; hard work. I can assure you we will still fight and fight until we are on top again.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News