… while Mahlangu breaks world record
Harare – Namibian President Hage Geingob has hailed Paralympian Ananias Shikongo’s splendid performance to claim silver in the 400m T11 race at the Tokyo Paralympics early this week.
Shikongo, who crossed the line behind Span’s Gerard Descarrega in 51.42s, was guided in the race by Sam Shimanda. France’s Gautier Makunda took bronze.
The 35-year old Shikongo started slowly but picked up midway through to storm home second, as Namibia continued its fairy tale in Tokyo following Christine Mboma’s 200m silver in the Olympics about a month ago.
Shikongo won five medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.
And President Geingob took to his official Twitter handle to congratulate the superstar athlete.
“A silver medal added to the tally! A great achievement by Ananias Shikongo at the #Tokyo Paralympics 2020. A journey of perseverance and hard work paid off. A well-deserved medal and congratulations to Ananias for making all of us proud,” he said.
Shikongo responded by saying; “Thank you Your Excellency, we truly appreciate your support. We will continue to raise our country’s flag with the utmost pride.”
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu’s set the Games alight with world record gold in the long jump at the weekend.
Known more his sprinting, Mahlangu has had an on and off relationship with long jump due to the injuries it has caused his back. But in Tokyo, he leapt to 7.17m in the T63 category for double leg amputees, beating the old world record of 7.12m.
The 19-year-old finished fourth in the long jump at the 2016 Rio Games when he was just 14.
“It’s such a big honour for me to win as this is a difficult class – a combined class (of T61 and T63). I’m honoured to be the gold medallist. It’s such a great step I took. I had to trust the process when I took the decision six weeks back – I only started training six weeks back. I’m actually super excited for the future.
“Long jump T63 class is going to be interesting, and this medal is not mine. I represent it. The long jump (medal), I dedicate to the people of Japan for having us here,” Mahlangu was quoted saying by IOL.
Also, South Africa’s Anrune Weyers won the women’s 400m in the T45 class at the weekend, after having won silver in the event at both the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.
Weyers was quoted saying: “This medal means so much to me – not just the medal, but the race itself. For me being here and beating Covid. It’s a really big gift, just running with God and being healthy and breathing.
“I was quite overwhelmed with my emotions afterwards. I thought my dream was over to compete at these Games. It’s spectacular to represent our country, but it’s not always about the medal. It’s about executing what you trained for, for five years, and trusting what you do as an athlete.”