After competing in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, veteran long-distance runner Helalia Johannes says the 2020 Olympic Games will be her last Olympics’ participation.
Johannes, who turns 41 this August, is among 11 athletes who will represent Namibia at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, from 23 July to 8 August 2021.
She told New Era she trains twice a day with three other runners, including Tomas Rainhold, who will be heading to the Olympics for the first time.
“My preparations for the Olympics started years back and I can say my preparations are going well,” said Johannes, who holds the Namibian records in the 10km, 20km, half marathon, and marathon events.
She placed 40th in the Beijing Games in 2008, 11th in the London Games in 2012, and 56th in the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
“This year, I would like to go and perform better than my previous performances at the Olympics. I want to work hard and improve on my previous records. I think I had prepared well and enough,” said Johannes.
She is the reigning 2018 Commonwealth Games champion, and she won bronze at the World Championships in 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
Johannes also won bronze at the Military World Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2011.
Her personal best in the marathon is 2:19:52, achieved in Valencia, Spain, in 2020.
Joahannes, however, said competing at four Olympics competitions is “huge” for her, and she will see how her body responds to training and competing in the various other competitions.