Windhoek – The jewel in the crown of Namibia’s 2020 Olympic campaign, sprint ace Christine Mboma, was welcomed home like the conquering heroine she is on returning to the country Tuesday.
Mboma – forced to run in the 200m rather than the 400m due to a controversial rule concerning her blood testosterone levels – stunned the world by taking a silver medal Tokyo last week, in a run that shattered the Namibian and African record over the distance and was the fastest ever by a woman below the age of 20.
This was also Namibia’s first medal at the Olympics since 1996 when the legendary Frankie Fredericks also took silver in the 200m we well as the 400m.
Mboma (18) returned home with the rest of Team Namibia last Tuesday, which included fellow sprint princess Beatrice Masilingi, who finished a commendable sixth in the 200m final.
On landing in Windhoek, water cannons showered the commercial craft that carried Team Namibia home from the Tokyo Games. The Namibian and African Union anthems were played by the Police Brass Band, and traditional dancers, bikers and sports fans thronged the convoy as it left the airport.
People lined the streets and waved the national flag as the country feted their Olympics heroines and heroes.
Companies and individuals have been lining up to pledge gifts and prizes for Mboma and crew.
Among the high honours has been Mboma being named a Goodwill Ambassador for the Sam Nujoma Foundation, established by the country’s Founding President.
“Allow me, to extend my warm congratulations to Ms Christine Mboma for her exceptional, outstanding, breath-taking and courageous performance following her rapid ascent to Olympic immortality after her speedy run to the podium and winning a well-deserved silver medal during the women’s 200m final race at the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Summer Olympic Games,” Dr Nujoma said through his foundation.
Dr Nujoma also extended warm congratulations to Mboma’s close friend, Masilingi, whose sixth-placed finish was achieved in a new personal best time.
“In the same vein, allow me to wholeheartedly congratulate Ms Beatrice Masilingi, Ms Hilaria Johannes and all other Namibian athletes for consistently representing our country on the world stage. Their performance, tenacity, and personal best during the Olympic Games makes us proud as Namibians.
“Furthermore, I convey my warm personal best wishes for good health and many prosperous years to their mentor and coach Mr Henk Botha for his leadership in guiding our youthful athletes to victory. His passion for sports has not gone unnoticed and his generosity, not only in mentoring these young athletes but also by contributing financially to their upkeep, deserve accolades. May the nation learn that leadership accompanied by a solid vision and hard work will lead to success,” Dr Nujoma said.
He said given that the Sam Nujoma Foundation was founded on the principle of self-reliance and capacity-building, Namibian athletes had demonstrated a high sense of self-sufficiency and self-belief coupled with sheer talent and patriotism.
“It is against this background that I, in my capacity as the Founder of the Sam Nujoma Foundation, appoint Ms Christine Mboma as Goodwill Ambassador of the foundation. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Sam Nujoma Foundation, its secretariat and technical committee and indeed on my own behalf, please allow me once again to extend hearty congratulations to our athletes for their landmark victory. We wish you continued success in all your future endeavours.”