An exasperated president Hage Geingob on Friday said the disparaging saga around the withdrawal of sprinters Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma from the 400m list of the Tokyo Olympic Games, should not go unchallenged.
Geingob made the remarks during Team Namibia’s send-off gathering held at State House, where the Head of State also conferred the responsibilities of flag-bearer on sprinter Masilingi on behalf of the Olympic team, and on sprinter Johannes Nambala on behalf of the Paralympics team.
While sharing his words of encouragement and solidarity with both the Olympic and Paralympics teams ahead of their participation in the two upcoming global competitions, Geingob did not hide his dismay over the axing of Masilingi and Mboma from the Tokyo Olympic Games’ 400m list due to naturally high levels of testosterone.
If the duo wanted to compete in the 400m race in Tokyo, they would have been ordered by World Athletics to take testosterone-reducing drugs, something they have refused to do.
“We must protest; it is very unfair…I understand that we cannot interrupt the situation now [Olympics], but we must fight on after the Games are done. This situation of seeing other people doing well, and then they want to bring in all sorts of things, is not nice,” stressed Geingob.
“They [the two runners] were made that way.
They practice hard and they go out there to beat
them, now they start coming with all kinds of excuses. So, we are going to protest against that, I can assure you.”
The president, however, encouraged the two athletes to remain focused on the available races in Tokyo, and strive to bring back medals from those events. “So, go out there and do well in the 200m event. I’m not saying go out there and kill yourselves because it is your first time, but we are from the Land of the Brave. Go out there and do your level best. Qualifying for the games is a dream that all of us hoped for when we were young, but we never achieved. You should remember that you are just a few from our population that qualified for the games, and you will be flying our country’s flag high.”
The Olympic Games start this Friday until 8 August, while the Paralympic Games will run from 24 August to 5 September 2021.