Windhoek — Namibian veteran long-distance athlete Helalia Johannes, is ready and wholly determined to rewrite the history books in the aftermath of her disappointing debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China, when she lines up in the women's marathon of the 2012 London Olympics tomorrow.
After claiming first spot in the Old Mutual 21km Two-Oceans Half Marathon about six years ago in an impressive time of 01:13-point 5-3-seconds, Johannes gained national recognition as she once again won the title in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
In 2007, she took the continental marathon circuit by storm when she finished in 5th-place at the All Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria. Two months later, she made a remarkable debut at the Dublin Full Marathon event where she finished in a commendable 4th-place to set a new Namibian record of 02:35-point 3-0-seconds.
In 2008, she again tumbled that record when she lowered the time to 02:33-point 0-6-seconds after finishing in 7th-place at the Seoul Marathon. With some near faultless performances in various continental and international events, Johannes made it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but was almost disqualified along with compatriot Beata Naigambo after the two arrived late for the race as a result of a reported error in judgment by their managers. The pair failed to impress at the Beijing Olympics that saw Johannes finishing in 40th place with Naigambo ahead in 28th spot.
Johannes was however back in the thick of things after she dusted herself off with a 2nd-place finish at the 2009 Dublin Full Marathon - clocking an astonishing time of 02:32-point 3-0-seconds, in the process setting a new Namibian record. In that same year, she joined the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and was not able to compete for almost two years because of work commitments and intensive training.
She however used the NDF intensive training programme to her best advantage, as she made a hush-hush comeback to claim a bronze medal at the 2010 World Military Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after crossing the line in a time of 02:37-point 1-5-seconds to book herself a place in the 2012 London Olympics.