Namibia: Xoagub Backs Johannes for Olympic Gold

18 February 2020

Namibia National Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association (NNOC-CGA) president Abner Xoagub on Monday tipped marathon runner Helalia Johannes to win Namibia's first gold medal at the quadrennial showpiece.

He made these remarks when Johannes presented her medals and awards to Deputy Minister of Defence Billy Mwaningange and other senior officials in the ministry, where she is employed as a warrant officer.

Xoagub said since independence, Namibia has only managed to win four silver medals through Frank Fredericks, who won two silver medals at consecutive Olympic Games in the 100m (metres) and 200m sprint events in 1992 and 1996.

He added that Namibia has only managed to win a solitary gold medal at the Paralympic Games, where Johanna Benson finished first in the final of the 2012 Women's T37 200m.

"The most prestigious one [medal] is the gold medal in the able-bodied categories, we [are] therefore putting the whole responsibility on Helalia's shoulders," said Xoagub.

He added that Johannes' achievements should be celebrated by everyone because it is not easy to achieve that level of success, especially at her age, because the marathon category has been dominated by two countries in the world, which are Kenya and Ethiopia. He said with Johannes' form, Namibia now has a chance to record its first gold medal at the Olympic Games slated for Tokyo, Japan later this year.

On her part, Johannes told Nampa she understands the desire of NNOC-CGA to produce an Olympic gold medal and it is also her dream, but she cannot promise anything because she is just going to run according to how she trained and go by the plan.

Johannes became the first Namibian athlete to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan and she also holds the country's record in the 5 000 meter, 10 kilometre, 21 kilometre half marathon and 42 kilometre full marathon events.

The 39-year-old Johannes is also the first and only Namibian female athlete to have won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, having finished first in the 2018 edition held in Australia.

- Nampa

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