Ishitile bags Namibia’s first medal …as Kinda and Shikongo miss out on final

Home International Ishitile bags Namibia’s first medal …as Kinda and Shikongo miss out on final
Ishitile bags Namibia’s first medal …as Kinda and Shikongo miss out on final

Hesron Kapanga


PARIS – Namibia’s T11 female sprinter Lahja Ishitile and her guide Sem Shimanda won Namibia’s first medal on Tuesday night at the 2023 Paris World Para Athletics Championships that is underway in Paris, France.

Ishitile and Shimanda, who have been impressive with their performances throughout the heats and semi-finals, finished second in the final, behind Thalita Simplicio of Brazil and her guide Felipe Veloso, to win a silver medal for Team Namibia at the 2023 Paris World Para Athletics Championships.

Simplicio ran a personal best of 56.60 seconds to win gold, while Ishitile ran a new African record of 57.18 seconds, which replaced the one she set on Monday night in the semi-finals of 58.38 seconds.

In an interview with Nampa after the race on Tuesday, Ishitile said this is the first time she has reached the 400-metre final, and winning a medal is a huge achievement and motivation for her.

“When Thalita (Simplicio) ran the fastest time of 56.78 seconds, I almost gave up, but while at the hotel, I told myself to give it my all and at least win any colour medal for my country,” she said.

She added that before the World Athletics Championships, she was not looking to win any medals.

“I set myself a goal of improving as an athlete for the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympic Games; that is where I thought I was going to burn them all, but winning silverware at these championships is a huge motivation for me. I will continue working hard as we prepare for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games,” she said.

Meanwhile, her guide Shimanda told this agency that winning a medal at the championships is a huge achievement for Ishitile.

“I am happy to see that in the 400-metre races, we broke our African record. This is the first time Ishitile has reached the finals of the 400m because, in the past, we ended up in the semi-finals or were knocked out in the heats. We are looking forward to improving on this in future competitions,” she said.

Meanwhile, T11 male sprinters Chris Kinda and his guide Riwaldo Goagoseb, as well as Ananias Shikongo and his guide Sem Shimanda, missed out on an opportunity to compete for silverware in the T11 400m after finishing third and fourth in their respective heats.

Shikongo and his guide finished third in their heat with a time of 52.02 seconds, while Gerard Descarrega of Spain and his guide Guillermo Gil Rojo ran a seasonal best of 50.97 seconds to win that heat. Their time was the fastest of all the two heats that were held on the day.

In the second heat, Kinda and his guide finished last with a time of 52.33 seconds, as they found it hard to outclass home favourites Timothee Adolphe and his guide Jeffrey Lami, as well as Gauthier Makunda and his guide Lucas Mathonat, who finished first and second, respectively, to book themselves spots in the final.

Only the heat winner and the two fastest losers from both heats progressed to the final, slated for Wednesday evening at the Charlety Stadium in Paris, France.

After three days of competition, Namibia has one silver medal. 

In the previous edition of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Para Athletics Championships held in 2019 in Dubai, Team Namibia won two medals, which were gold and bronze, by Johannes Nambala in the 400m and 100m sprints.

– Nampa