Standard Bank has become the first corporate entity to honour its pledge towards Olympic silver medallist Christine Mboma and fellow Olympian Beatrice Masilingi.
The two sprinters and their coach, Henk Botha, visited Standard Bank headquarters on Friday to officially receive the donation of N$300 000 that the bank pledged towards their tertiary studies.
The pledge was made days after Mboma clocked an astonishing time of 21.81 seconds to scoop silver in the 200m women’s final at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics, claiming the scalps of renowned veteran athletes such as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Gabby Thomas and Marie-Josee Ta Lou.
Masilingi finished sixth overall in that race with a new personal best of 22.28 seconds, also leaving seasoned athletes like Mujinga Kambundji and Shaunae Miller-Uibo eating dust.
In celebration of the remarkable performances by the two teens, several Namibian companies joined the queue to make various kinds of pledges, including money and in-kind sponsorships. Wasting no time, Standard Bank on Friday became the first company to set the tone by delivering on its commitment.
Reminiscent of scenes at the Hosea Kutako International Airport where tens of Namibians welcomed Team Namibia back from Tokyo, Mboma, Masilingi and coach Botha were on Friday also treated to a heroes’ welcome at Standard Bank’s head office as staff formed a guard of honour and ululated as the trio made their entrance into the building.
The bank’s chief executive officer, Mercia Geises, could not contain her excitement as she welcomed and expressed admiration for the stars for setting the world stage ablaze with their performances.
She said she and her family, as well as many other Namibians, woke up in the very early morning hours to witness how the 18-year-old girls were running their way into the world athletics history books and into the hearts of thousands of their Namibian compatriots.
“This is a special moment to have you not on TV, but physically here with us. At Standard Bank, we say Namibia is our home; we drive her growth. We also say we are here to support you and your growth,” said Geises.
She marvelled at how the Olympic duo performed under pressure. “You are so young and you are so new at the world stage, but with your coach (Botha), you were absolutely able to perform under that pressure”, she added.
Sending them off to the world, Geises said: “It is fine if you arrive and you’ve got nothing to lose, then the pressure is not so much. But how do you perform when there is so much more to lose when you have established yourself as a champion, as a contender and as a competitor? We as Standard Bank look forward to supporting you on the journey where you have to perform under pressure.”