Namibian mountain biker Alex Miller yesterday started off strongly in the men’s cross-country race and at one point seemed well on course to catch up with the leading pack, but his adrenalised performance, unfortunately, proved insufficient to earn Team Namibia their first medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
The 20-year-old Miller, whose participation also marked his Olympics debut, clocked 1:34:26 to finish 31st overall in the highly competitive men’s cross-country contest, which saw some of the world’s leading mountain bikers.
In total, 38 riders partook in the gruelling race, which was won by Britain’s Tomas Pidcock in a time of 1:25:14, while Swiss world number one Mathias Flueckiger took silver with his time of 1.25:34 and Spain’s David Valero crossed the finish line in 1:25:48 to bag the bronze medal.
Action will continue today for Team Namibia when mountain biker Michelle Vorster takes to the thoroughfare in the women’s cross-country race over 24km, where a group of 37 top cyclists will be in contention for top honours.
“Excited, privileged and massively motivated. Thank you for every word of encouragement from everyone, it is noticed and so much appreciated. My amazing crew of Ermin van Wyk - the best mechanic I know - and coach Hans du Toit, thank you for being my right hand men. It is the business end of the Olympics mountain bike race and I am as ready as I will ever be,” a buoyant Vorster posted on her social media platforms ahead of today’s big race.
This is her second Olympics participation after the Rio Olympics in 2016. She had a tough debut and was pulled off after falling too far behind the leaders.
Meanwhile, Namibia’s boxing sensation Jonas Jonas was yesterday pitted against Australia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Harry Garside, whom he will face this coming Saturday in the Round of 16 of the men’s lightweight division.
On Sunday, Garside defeated Papua New Guinea’s John Ume 5-0 to progress from the preliminary Round of 32 and will now face stiff competition from the quicksilver hard-punching Namibian, who is determined to clinch his first-ever Olympics medal before hopefully moving up the ranks to turn professional after the Tokyo Games.