‘My journey as an athlete has not always been smooth sailing’: Ishitile

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T11 sprinter Lahja Ishitile, who will be making her second appearance at the Paralympic Games this year, said her journey as an athlete has not always been smooth sailing.

Ishitile, the visually impaired athlete who announced her arrival on the international sporting scene in 2014 by winning a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games when she had just turned 17, told Nampa recently injuries and financial constraints are some of the obstacles that have stood in her way.

“My journey as an athlete has been tough because sometimes you don’t have money to go for training but you have to push yourself. I am also lucky that this year I did not have any injuries and I am looking forward to the 2020 Paralympic Games,” she said.

In 2016 at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Ishitile did not win any medals in the T11, 100 metre (m), 200m and 400m races, but she set African records in the T11, 100m race with a time of 12.59 seconds and T11, 200m with a time of 25.37 seconds, which was also her personal best.

She also set an African record in the 400m race with a time of 58.97 seconds.

The sprinter told this news agency she is 90 per cent ready and will do her best while in Tokyo, Japan for the rescheduled 2020 Paralympic Games.

“I want to do better than I did in Rio. I am going to compete in long jump which I replaced the 100m with, but in sprinting I will do 200m and 400m,” she said.

Ishitile added that she is not worried about her competitors in the upcoming games.

“When I am training I don’t think about other athletes. That will only happen when I am at the village, that is when I will start putting pressure on myself to do the best I can,” she stated.

Team Namibia currently has three athletes that will represent them at the Paralympic Games slated for 25 August to 06 September 2021.

Namibia Paralympic Committee Secretary General Michael Hamukwaya told this agency that despite having a small group of athletes, they will do their best when preparing so that they can represent the country well in Japan.

“I would like to thank NamPower who are always on board when we need help. If it was not for them, we would not have had any athletes at the games. They availed funds for preparations and we managed to at least compete at one International Paralympic Committee Grand Prix in 2019 were we won one slot,” Hamukwaya said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency