Namibia’s junior athletes have achieved some great 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 9th place during the seeding round with a superb time of 2:13:306 minutes. There were a total of 32 competitors starting.
De Lange the also progressed through the round of 16 after another strong performance that saw him coming in second in the 2nd heat behind Franco Vigiani form Argentina. The Namibian’s time (2:40:026) was only 1,391 seconds slower than Vigiani’s. In the quarterfinal de Lange then missed out on a semi-final spot after coming in third.
Today his fellow cycling compatriot Pascal Marggraff went at it in the time trail where he came in 28th.
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 - 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 his/her 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 200 meter Individual Medley, improving her personal best with more than a massive three seconds and breaking the Namibian record. 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 also broke the Namibian record in the 100m backstroke, but still missed out on semi-final spot.
Zanré Oberholzer was rather unfortunate when she missed the turn at the wall at her first heat over 100 meter backstroke. Nevertheless, she still made sixth place in her race, with the winner almost two seconds faster than Oberholzer.
In other action the Namibian girls’ soccer team crashed to a 0:9 defeat against Mexico. The girls got off to a good start and fought bravely until the end of play with some good ball recoveries and approaches to the opponent’s goal line. The star of the match was undoubtedly Jasmin Baas who defined the defence for the Namibian team at a world class level. 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. This had cost the team another 2 goals which were scored by Mexico within these last 10 minutes.
Coach Mervin Mbakera set an excellent example of true sportsmanship and leadership in the way he kept motivating his team to keep the fighting spirit high at all times before, during and after the game. Considering that according to coach Mbakera, the team was only able to effectively train together for this event for the past two months, the team has done very well.
“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 Böhm said.
Lesidi Jacobs was another Namibian athlete that showed great spirit. Although she and her Egyptian partner Sandra Samir lost their first match (3:6, 5:7), the pair did show promising tennis. Jacobs then played her first game against Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic. She took the first set with 6:4, after which she crashed to 6:1 and 6:0 defeats.
The beach volleyball ladies Stephanie Palmhert und Kim Seebach came up against Italy during their first pool A game. Their other group opponents are Kazakhstan, Latvia, Canada and Ecuador.