MAIKE Diekmann will battle it out for positions 13 to 18 after finishing third in the second C/D semifinal of the Women's Rowing Single Sculls at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, and qualifying for the C final.
Diekmann got off to a great start and after the first 500m had built up a slight lead over Felice Chow of Trinidad and Tobago and Jovana Arsic of Serbia.
Arsic, however, overtook Diekmann to reach the 1 000m halfway mark in the lead, with Diekmann second, 0,19 seconds behind and Chow third, 2,89 seconds behind.
Lovisa Claesson of Sweden, who was lying fourth at that stage, 3,57 behind the leader, timed her assault to perfection, as she started reeling the front runners in.
By the three-quarter mark, she had passed Diekmann into second place, and at the end of the 2 000m race she crossed the line in first place in a time of 7:35,91, with Arsic second 3,35 behind and Diekmann third, 4,86 behind.
Diekmann finished well clear of fourth-placed Chow (9,23 seconds behind), while Veronica Toro Arana of Puerto Rico came fifth (17,45 behind) and Wing Hung of Hong Kong sixth (20,39 behind).
The top three rowers qualified for the C final, which took place at 01h45 this morning, while the bottom three were relegated to the D final.
After yesterday's race, Diekmann said her tactics had paid off.
"Going into the semifinal today I just wanted to make sure that I could get the job done and make the top three, but I also knew the weather was quite a tricky thing to deal with. I needed to keep it clean and attack over the first part of the race, because the water was then also the best, so the plan was to get out of the blocks and move up the field," she said.
"I got off to a good start and over the second part of the race I just tried to stay in control - it was quite technically challenging with the windy conditions, but I'm just glad I did what I needed to do to put myself in the C final," she added.
Regarding the final, Diekmann said she will do her best.
"It"s quite an emotional one, knowing that this is my last race, so I'm really excited to just go out there and race really hard for Namibia one last time. I just want to do my best and see if I can clock a good time and be in the mix at the top and then possibly having a good chance of doing well in the final."
Diekmann, who is participating at her first Olympic Games, said it has been an amazing experience.
"It's been an incredible experience over the past week, it's just been something very special. I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know what was waiting for me here and even though we are in a pandemic and the games are going ahead a bit differently, I think the atmosphere was still there," she said.
"I'll never forget the first day when I walked into the Olympic Village, it was an overwhelming experience and for two days I couldn't believe that I was actually here, amongst so many other athletes from all over the world, and seeing our flags flying outside and all the banners up on the apartments, that was just unreal. I think just being here representing Namibia with a small team, was very special and I think I won't ever forget these days that I've experienced in the last week," she added.
Namibia's light welterweight boxer Jonas Junias Jonas, meanwhile, starts his Olympics campaign tomorrow when he takes on Harry Garside of Australia in a Round of 16 match-up, with the fight due to start at 11h37 Namibian time.
The athletics events also get underway this weekend, and Namibia's sprinting sensations Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi will be in action in the women's 200m first round heats, starting at 03h30 Namibian time on Monday morning.