Namibia Off to Promising Start in Nanjing

Namibia’s junior athletes achieved some promising results on the first competition day of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which are currently underway in Nanjing, China.

Cycling ace Tristan de Lange kicked-off his team’s campaign with the cross-country eliminator on Sunday.

The Windhoek-based rider got off to a flying start when he clinched the ninth place during the seeding round with a superb time of 2:13:30. There were a total of 32 competitors starting.

De Lange then progressed through to the round of 16 after another g performance that saw him coming in second in the second heat behind Franco Vigiani form Argentina. De Lange’s time (2:40:02) was only 1,39 seconds slower than Vigiani’s.

In the quarterfinal de Lange then missed out on a semi-final spot after coming in third.

De Lange’s fellow cycling compatriot Pascal Marggraff went at it in the time trail where he came 28th overall.

The teams, composed of two competitors, compete in five events: Mountain Bike – Cross-country Olympic, Mountain Bike – Cross-country Eliminator, BMX, Road – Time Trial and Road Race.

Both competitors on the team must start in the Road Race. Each team member must also start in two of the remaining four events, but only one team member can start in each event.

In each event, points are allocated to the competitors based on their ranking in the race. The team with the highest number of points after five events is the winner. The swimmers also managed to get some good results, especially Sonja Adelaar.

The 15-year-old won her heat in the 200m Individual Medley, improving her personal best time by more than three seconds. Her success was, however, not entirely enough to see her through to the final where only the eight fastest swimmers of four heats went head-to-head. Her team mate Lushano Lamprecht narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot when he came second during his heat in the 100m backstroke.

Zanreacute Oberholzer was rather unfortunate when she missed the turn at the wall during her first heat in the 100m backstroke.

Nevertheless, she still came sixth in her race, with the winner almost two seconds faster than Oberholzer. In other action, the Namibian girls’ soccer team crashed to a 9-0 defeat against Mexico.

The Namibian girls fought bravely until the end but were outplayed by Mexico.

The star player for Namibia was undoubtedly Jasmin Baas who excelled in defence. Unfortunately Namibia lost Asteria Angula during the last 10 minutes of the match due to a knee injury and had to finish the game with only 10 players, which cost the team another two goals.

Namibia’s coach Mervin Mbakera kept on motivating his team to keep the spirit high at all times before, during and after the game. Considering that the team had only trained together for two months, it was not a bad result.

“Competing against countries that have selected and groomed their teams for this event over the past few years, Namibia has shown a tremendous result. Whilst we by no means can compete against the financial resources and athlete pool that these countries have available to excel in sport, the Namibian football girls have represented Namibia with a fighting spirit that has really made us proud,” Namibia’s Chef de Mission Monica Boumlhm said. Lesedi Jacobs was another Namibian athlete that showed great spirit. Although she and her Egyptian tennis partner Sandra Samir lost their first match (6-3, 7-5), the pair did show promising tennis.

Jacobs then lost her first singles match against Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic, 6-4, 1-6, 0-6.

Source : The Namibian

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