Namibia's last two athletes at the Olympics, wrestler Sem Shilimela and mountain biker Marc Bassingthwaighte will be in action this weekend.
Shilimela competes in the Men's 55kg Freestyle category at the ExCel Arena this afternoon, while Bassingthwaighte will compete in the Men's Mountain Bike Race at Hadleigh Farm in Essex on Sunday. Shilimela has been hard at work over the past two weeks with his trainer Luis Forcelledo, training with other wrestlers from Cuba and Honduras. During this time, he turned 21 on July 30, but there was no time for celebrations since he is completely focused on his bout later today. The youthful Shilimela declined to speak to the media before the fight, with Forcelledo saying that his wrestler was concentrating on his upcoming bout.
"Sem has been training hard and is completely focused on his fight. He is in good shape and I am confident, but the draw will also play a role in how he does," he said. The wrestlers were due to be weighed-in yesterday afternoon when the first round draw for opponents was to be made known.
A total of 19 wrestlers from 19 different nations will be in action in the first round bouts. Shilimela also competed at the 2011 World Championships where he won his first round fight before being eliminated in round 16 by Vladimer Khinchegashvili of Georgia.
Mountain biker Bassingthwaighte, will be action on Sunday and said he is in top shape and is looking forward to the event. "I've worked very hard this year and I'm in the best shape of my life so it's now or never," he said this week from London.
Bassingthwaighte will be competing against the top 50 mountain bikers in the world and has set himself a target of finishing amongst the top 30. Team Namibia's Chef de Mission Ndeulipula Hamutumwa wished both athletes well ahead of their participation.
"Sem and Marc have qualified for the Olympic Games on their own merits and it was not easy. We must understand that this is their first Olympic Games, so I can only wish them all the best and remind them to remain focused at all times," he said. Hamutumwa said Namibia found the going tough, competing against the best athletes in the world.
"Namibia's performance has been tough in view of the level of the competition our athletes found themselves up against. The athletes tried their level best to compete with athletes who are world champions and who are fulltime professionals."
"The athletes should use every movement at the Olympics as a learning experience for future Games. And I would like to second the Minister of Sport's call for the nation to support our men and women who are competing at this level," he added.