NAMIBIA's budding young superstars Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi once again delivered the goods when they won their races at international meetings in Europe over the weekend.
On Saturday evening Mboma won the women's 200m at the Madrid Meeting in her second fastest time of 22,79 seconds, while Masilingi yesterday won the women's 400m at the Orlen Memorial of Janusz Kusociński in Chorzow, Poland in her second fastest time of 49,88 seconds.
At the Madrid Meet, Mboma once again had a slow start and was lying fourth when she hit the home straight. She, however, turned on the power over the final 100m to pull away from the rest of the field to win the race in a fast time of 22,79 seconds. Gabriella Suarez of Ecuador came second in 23,18 seconds and Maria Vicente of Spain third in 23,29 seconds.
Mboma's winning time was just outside her personal best and national record time of 22,67 that she set in Prague two weeks ago, while it was her second victory from two starts in Europe and has now firmly placed her under the international spotlight.
After the race, her manager and coach Henk Botha sent a congratulatory message from Chorzow where he was preparing for Masilingi's race.
"We are so proud of Christine. There was a bit of wind and there was once again a strong field and there was a lot of excitement around the whole event. It was the first time that she had to run without me being there, so I'm very proud of her. I'm excited and happy with her result and I think she has hoisted the Namibian flag up high there where it needs to be ion the world's athletics stage," he said.
Yesterday it was Masilingi's turn to take centre stage with a brilliant performance.
She had a great start, immediately taking the lead and never relinquished it. She seemed to conserve her energy at the half way mark, but going into the home straight she turned on the power to pull away for an impressive victory.
Roxana Gomez of Cuba came second in 50,76 seconds, and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic of Poland third in 51,04 seconds.
Masilingi's time was just outside her personal best of 49,53 seconds that she set in Lusaka in April, as well as Mboma's national record time of 49,22, but it was still one of the fastest in the world this year, with only Mboma, Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas (49,08) and Athing Mu of the United States (49,57) setting faster times.
Mboma's 200m time was only the 40th fastest time in the world this year, but in the 400m the two Namibians have now both twice posted times under 50 seconds and will definitely be amongst the medal contenders at the Olympic Games.
The executive director of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Audrin Mathe, meanwhile, congratulated both athletes on their performances yesterday.
"On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Namibia, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service wishes to congratulate Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi for their victories in the 200 m and 400 m respectively. The country is grateful for their wins, which speaks of the resilience they displayed throughout these unprecedented, challenging times as the world battles the coronavirus," he said.
"Christine and Beatrice are champions and their legend grows with every win. As the Tokyo Olympic Games draws closer, you should prepare like an athlete, eat like a nutritionist, sleep like a baby and win like a champion. The nation is behind you. You put Namibia on the map once again," he added.
Mathe said that 10 Namibian athletes had already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and renewed the government's commitment to ensuring that Team Namibia will be financially supported.