Namibia: Jonas Faces Ballet-Dancing Plumber

NAMIBIAN boxer Jonas Junias Jonas will face a tough opponent in Harry Garside of Australia when he gets his Tokyo Olympics campaign underway on Saturday.

Jonas, as the second seed for the competition, received a first round bye, and will now come up against Garside, who beat John Ume of Papua New Guinea 5-0 in a one-sided first round victory.

Jonas' high seeding for the competition has a lot to do with his gold medal in the 64kg light welterweight category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, but in Garside he comes up against another gold medallist at the Gold Coast games.

Garside won gold in the 60kg lightweight category, but since then the two categories have been combined with the result that the lightweights now also fight in the light welterweight category.

Whether the step-up in weight will affect his performance remains to be seen, but Jonas can expect to face an extremely dedicated and rather unusual fighter in Garside.

According to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website, the 24-year-old Australian, whose regular job is a plumber, even took ballet classes after his mother bought him vouchers two years ago.

"I'm not going to lie -- I'd always wanted to try ballet. I say I do it for boxing, but really I have always wanted to dance," he was quoted as saying by Russel Jackson of ABC, after his first round victory against Ume on Sunday.

"Like Garside's early moves in boxing, the ballet was a failure at first, but he stuck with it. A few bouts later, he said his footwork, coordination and thinking all changed for the better," Jackson added.

Garside was a slow starter, losing 10 of his first 18 amateur fights, but his trainer Brian Levier, who started training him at the age of nine, was impressed by his commitment, telling Leader News in 2017, Ï've never seen a kid as dedicated as Harry."

That was after yet another setback when he failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, but he kept on training and two years later won Commonwealth gold as a complete outsider.

Since then he has become quite a popular and admired boxer in Australia, where he has gone on to address and inspire boxers at other boxing gyms.

Besides Garside, there are several other tough opponents in the light welterweight draw who will fancy their chances at the Olympics.

They include the top-seeded Sofiane Oumiha of France, who won a silver medal in the lightweight category at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as a gold medal at the 2017 World Amateur Championships.

Sofiance also had a first round bye, but he faces another in-form boxer, Keyshawn Davis of the United States in the Round of 16 on Saturday, who outclassed Enrico Lacruz of the Netherlands 5-0 last Sunday.

Another boxer with a first round bye, the third-seeded Andy Cruz of Cuba, faces a tough prospect against Luke McCormack of Great Britain, who suffered a close 3-2 defeat to Jonas at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, before going on to win the bronze medal.

Namibian cyclist Michelle Vorster, meanwhile announced the end of her Olympics career on her Facebook page, after being withdrawn from the women's cross country mountain bike race on Tuesday.

"A blink of an eye and my Olympics is over. Not an easy day, neither the conditions nor the outcome I had planned, but honestly, it will be a dishonour to every moment of my cycling career, if I base the full experience on this one single moment," she said.

"Sometimes the weight of my own expectations are way too heavy. It may seem like it doesn't affect me, but inside there brews a storm. I am here today, I lived to experience the Olympic Games twice in my life and it was absolutely wonderful. The Olympics to me is a BIG thing. Never did I think I would ever experience it," she added.

"There are so many who supported me and I am very grateful to everyone, but no-one supported me more than my husband and my three beautiful children. Their commitment and sacrifices to a dream I chased is not measurable. I love them so much and I know they are proud, but not more proud as what I am of them. I wished they were here. Now back on a flight, 14 days quarantine and then home," she concluded.

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