Para-athletes fail to qualify for finals

Ananias Shikongo in action with his guide Sem Shimanda. File photo

Namibia’s Para-athletes had a disappointing day at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe yesterday, after they all failed to qualify for the finals in their events.

Chris Kinda, who won Namibia’s only gold medal so far in the men’s 400m T11 final, failed to qualify for the 100m final when he and his guide Riwaldo Goagoseb were disqualified from the third heat, after their tether somehow disconnected. 

Ananias Shikongo, running in the second heat, came second in a season’s best time of 11,55 seconds, but it was not good enough for the final. Only the three heat winners and the fourth best time went through, with Eduardo Uceda Novas of Spain clinching the fourth spot with a time of 11,47.

Namibia’s Alfred Bernardo missed out on a place in the final after coming third in his heat in a season’s best time of 11,90 seconds.

Lahja Ipinge also ran a season’s best time of 13,23 seconds in the women’s 100m T12 heats, but it was not good enough to make the final as she finished third in her heat. 

Johannes Nambala, meanwhile, failed to make the men’s 400m T13 final after being disqualified from his heat. He originally finished fourth in 51,03 seconds, but was later disqualified due to some transgression.

National paralympic coach Letu Hamhola, however, said Nambala was just starting out now.

“Johannes hasn’t really run the 400m this year, he’s done a few races, but hes been struggling with injury and illness, so he has not had a proper 400m this year. So today was literally the start of his season, because we are working towards the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games for him as well as Ananias and Lahja,” he said. 

“We are also happy that Chris has now joined that number, so it’s an improvement from Tokyo where we only had three athletes, so now with Chris, by virtue of having won the gold medal in the 400m, it automatically makes him a qualifier because the first two get qualifying spots,” he added. 

“Unfortunately Lahja, and Ananias and Johnny cannot get extra slots because they alreeady got their slots when they qualified last year at the Paris World Champs, so that’s good for us, its an improvement. Of course we saw Lahja got the African record, but unfortunately she did not make it to the final but we are still looking forward,” he said.

“The objective is to get more slots for Paris, we’ve already got one but we still want to add to that tally. We are working hard and are optimistic that all of them will perform better than what they did in the previous rounds and also at at Paris,” he said, adding that Ishitile will be returning to Namibia due to exams.

“Lahja has to return home,she has to write exams and will unfortunately missthe 200m, but studies come first – she’s a student at the University of Namibia.”

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