Namibia: No Place for Herunga in Olympic Team

THE country's foremost 400m sprinter Tjipekapora Herunga will not be competing at the Rio Olympic Games, NNOC president Abner Xoagub confirmed on Saturday.

The Namibia National Olympic Committee announced a team of 10 athletes during a public send-off ceremony at Maerua Mall in Windhoek.

Members of the Paralympics team, which is still to be finalised, also attended the event.

"That case has been closed. The deadline for athletics was 12 July. The final team was submitted on 18 July. Even if you want to bring her into the team, the accreditation has been closed off as well,' Xoagub told The Namibian Sport on the sidelines of the team's announcement and presentation to the public on Saturday morning.

Herunga has been the centre of a drawn-out row between Athletics Namibia and the Namibia National Olympic Committee regarding her qualification for the Rio Games.

While she has achieved the Olympic qualifying standard three times, the NNOC refused to acknowledge two of those marks which were achieved at the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo-Brazzaville on the basis that they do not acknowledge the continental competition as an Olympic qualifying event.

She represented the last hope of a failed project by the Sport Ministry to upgrade the country's amateur athletes into world class competitors by enrolling them for a three-year training programme in Jamaica.

Herunga, who earlier this week said the ordeal had broken her spirit, has been training in Europe while awaiting her fate.

Having closed the chapter on Herunga, Xoagub talked up the chances of the team, saying they had the potential to be the most successful crop the country has sent to the Olympics.

"Namibia stands a good chance of winning medals at these Olympic Games. All the athletes are in good shape, so we should come back with at least three or four medals," Xoagub said.

In the team are: Jonas Junias Jonas and Matias Hamunyela (boxing); Beata Naigambo, Helalia Johannes, Alina Armas and Mynhardt Kauanivi (marathon); Gaby Ahrens (shooting); Dan Craven, Michelle Vorster and Vera Adrian (cycling).

Source: The Namibian.