Give us hope Johanna Benson

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Give us hope Johanna Benson

Namibian Paralympic athlete Johanna Benson finished seventh in the women’s 100-metre (m) T37 final yesterday morning at the Para Athletics World Championships underway at the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in Kobe, Japan. 

Benson qualified for the final of the 100m T37 on Monday, after finishing third in heat two with a time of 14.68 seconds. 

However, yesterday, despite coming out slow from her block, the 34-year-old Benson managed to achieve a seasonal best of 14.56 seconds in the race. 

The race was won by China’s Wen Xiaoyan, who set a world record with a time of 12.27 seconds. 

She was followed by the United States of America’s Taylor Swanson, who took second place in 12.86 seconds, recording a personal best, whereas China’s Fenfen Jiang, finished third in 13.26 seconds, thus also recording a season’s best.

Benson, the darling of Namibian para-athletics and the 2012 London Summer Paralympic gold medalist and Namibia’s first Paralympic gold medalist has not won a competitive medal since 2015 and is still striving to replicate her past international success. 

Success which many of her followers are waiting to be replicated. However, secretary general of the Namibia Paralympic Committee, Michael Hamukwaya expressed satisfaction with Benson’s performance. “This competition serves as Benson’s comeback as she has been working very hard to get back to where she was years ago.

“It is very encouraging to see her reach the 100m T37 final at this level after some time of absence. It’s very good to see her in action, with a never give up attitude,” he said.

Benson will compete again on Saturday in the 200m T37 heat, hoping to qualify for the final and secure Namibia another medal at the competition.

With action continuing in the competition, other Namibian para-athletes competing today include Alfred Bernardo, veteran Ananias Shikongo, and Chris Kinda in the 100m T11 heat. 

Johannes Nambala will compete in his favourite event, the 400m T13 heat, while Lahja Ipinge will participate in the 100m T12 heat, rounding out the day’s events. 

Namibia is ranked 26th out of 48 countries on the medal standings with four medals, thus securing four slots for the Paralympic Games: three for males and one for a female.

China is ranked first with 41 medals (15 gold, 13 silver, and 13 bronze), followed by Brazil in second place with 25 medals (14 gold, six silver, and five bronze), whereas India is ranked third with 10 medals (four gold, four silver and two bronze). Great Britain is in fourth place with six medals (four gold, one silver, and one bronze). 

The competition, which started on 17 May, concludes on Saturday.