Namibia’s medal hunt continues in Kobe – Sport

Chris Kinda, who won a gold medal for Namibia at the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan, on Monday, returns to action today, while the highly decorated Johannes Nambala and Ananias Shikongo will also lead Namibia’s quest for more medals today.

Kinda, 25, and his guide Riwaldo Goagoseb cruised to victory in the men’s 400m T11 final on Monday with a late surge to win the gold medal in 52.35 seconds and become Namibia’s latest Paralympic star.

That put him on par with established stars such as Nambala and Shikongo, who have won numerous medals at previous world championships, while he will now also be among the favorites to win a medal at the Paris Paralympic Games in three months.

The 400 meters are Kinda’s favorite event, but today he returns to action in the 100 meters heats, along with his compatriots Shikongo and Alfred Bernardo.

Kinda, whose best time so far this season is 11.54 seconds, will line up in Series 3, alongside the world champion and big favorite, the Greek Nasos Ghavellas, who set the world record of 10.82 seconds in the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Games in 2021, while this year he has a season’s best time of 11.26 seconds.

Meanwhile, Shikongo will also take part in the T11 100m heats, but at the age of 38 time is not on his side and his SB of 11.80 is well below his PB of 11.11.

He, however, is Namibia’s most decorated Paralympic athlete, having won four medals at the Paralympic Games (one gold, one silver and two bronze); six World Championships medals (four silver and two bronze) and five African Games medals (four gold and one bronze), and he certainly has the big-game temperament to produce goods on the big stage.

Bernardo, 24 years old, for his part, has a PB of 11.76 and a SB of 12.62.

Nambala, who is Namibia’s second most decorated Paralympic athlete, with three Paralympic Games medals (two silver and one bronze); nine world championship medals (three gold, four silver, two bronze); and a gold medal at the African Games, he will compete today in the T13 400m heats, where he should be a strong medal contender.

Nambala, 33, has a personal best time of 47.21 seconds, but his main opponent is expected to be Algerian Skander Athmani, who set the world record of 46.70 seconds at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Athmani earned her first gold medal at the World Championship Games in Kobe on Monday when she won the T13 100 meters in a new championship record time of 10.44 seconds.

Japan’s Shuta Kawakami came second with a new Asian record of 10.70, but Nambala could only finish sixth with a season’s best time of 11.29 seconds.

Another Namibian who will be in action today is Lahja Iipinge who will take part in the women’s 100m T12 heats. Iipinge, who is only 18 years old, was unfortunately disqualified from the women’s 400m T12 heats on Monday when her guide Paulus Filippus crossed the finish line in front of her.

Meanwhile, Lahja Ishitile on Sunday became Namibia’s second medalist at the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe when she won the bronze medal in the women’s 100m T11 final. Brazil’s Thalita da Silva won gold in 57.45 seconds, China’s Liu Cuiqing took silver in 58.32 and Ishitile took bronze in 58.37.

On Monday, Ishitile and his guide Sem Shimanda set an African record of 12.39 seconds in their T11 100m heat, but unfortunately failed to qualify for the final.

Two other Namibians reached the finals of their events on Monday, but failed to finish among the medals.

Competing in the men’s 100 meter T44 event, Denzel Namene qualified for the finals with a season-best time of 12.41 in his heat. In the final she clocked exactly the same time but only placed seventh, while South Africa’s Mpumelelo Mhlongo won the gold medal in 11.34 seconds.

Meanwhile, Johanna Benson, Namibia’s first Paralympic gold medalist, reached the women’s 100m T37 final after placing third in her heat with a time of 14.68 seconds. However, she missed out on a medal after placing seventh in the final with a season’s best time of 14.56 seconds, while China’s Wen Xiaoyan won the gold medal with a new world record of 12.27.

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