TOKYO/WINDHOEK – Namibia’s T11 sprinter and long jumper Lahja Ishitile has refused to be damped by a niggling ankle injury, saying she will be ready to make the country proud when Team Namibia gets their Tokyo Paralympics campaign underway today.
Ishitile, who twisted her ankle during a long jump training session some days ago in Tokyo, has since been well on the mend and is confident her body will react perfectly when she takes to the field in the women’s T11 long jump event today.
She will again be back in action later in the day to compete in the T11 400m heats, which is another one of her specialities.
“My ankle is getting better by the day and I am more than ready compared to the boys in the team because I will start first,” said an upbeat Ishitile, who will again be expected in action on Thursday in the T11 100m heats.
She twisted her ankle after landing on a sandbag that was placed alongside the track during her long jump training session.
For T11 athletes, acoustic assistance is permitted during their long jump, triple jump and high jump.
However, no visual modification to the existing facility is permitted. In events where acoustic assistance is being used complete silence shall be requested from spectators. T11 long jumpers are escorted onto the track, positioned and then orientated on the runway before each attempt. Acoustic orientation for T11 long jumpers is permitted before, during and after each attempt.
Team Namibia will also be in action tomorrow when Namibia’s 2016 Rio Paralympics triple medallist Ananias Shikongo lines up for the men’s T11 400m heats before returning to the tracks on Wednesday in the T11 100m heats.
“My mind is focused; I have a few days left before my spikes do the talking. I might be the individual who will be on the track on race day, but there are a lot of Namibians looking up to me to represent them well, therefore I don’t want to disappoint those who are always supporting me,” said a confident Shikongo, who won gold in the T11 200m and two silvers in the T11 400m and 100m races during the 2016 Rio Paralympics in Brazil.
Another competitor for Team Namibia is sprinter Johannes Nambala, who will be in action this Sunday in the men’s T13 100m heats and then again on Wednesday in the T13 400m heats.
Nambala was also one of the country’s heroes at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, winning two silver medals in the T13 100m and 400m races.
The T11 category is for athletes with visual impairment. They are entirely without sight and unable to perceive light – and have no ability to see the shape of a hand at any distance. T11 athletes commonly run with guides.
Athletes with a T13/F13 sport class have the least severe vision impairment and, at times, have the highest visual acuity and/or a visual field of less than 40 degrees’ diameter.
The Tokyo Paralympics, which marks the 16th edition of the international multi-sport event, kicked off Tuesday with the opening ceremony and ends on 5 September 2021.