Team Namibia’s hopes of winning a medal in either the road race or maintain bike events were completely dashed yesterday when mountain biker Michelle Vorster finished 36th overall out of 38 riders who competed in the women’s cross-country race of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
With cyclists Tristan de Lange (men’s road race) and Vera Looser (women’s road race) both already out following a string of tepid individual performances, and with mountain biker Alex Miller also out after finishing 31st overall in the men’s cross-country on Monday, Namibia’s last hope in the riding events was pinned on Vorster.
But Vorster, who at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil was the country’s only representative in the mountain bike cross-country events, yesterday suffered the same ordeal, finishing just ahead of bottom-placed finishers Miho Imai of Japan and Laura Stigger of Austria.
According to an update by the Namibia National Olympics Committee team in Tokyo, the 42-year-old Vorster struggled with finding her usual groove as the track was changed overnight before race-day, and some rock sections also had to be closed due to a muddy and slippery terrain – consequently disrupting her initial game plan.
The race was won by Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff, who was joined on the podium by compatriots Sina Frei and Linda Indergand, who claimed silver and bronze, respectively to complete the line-up for the central European country.
Action will continue tomorrow for Team Namibia when rower Maike Diekmann hits the waters in the C/D semifinals of the women’s singles sculls race. Diekmann, who is making her debut at the Olympics, will be expected to put up a decent performance and hopefully progress to the finals.
The 27-year-old Diekmann was the first athlete to get Namibia’s Tokyo Olympics campaign underway last Friday, finishing third in a time of 07:56:37 during the opening heats to automatically qualify for the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, she faced tough competition but managed to row herself into fifth place overall in a time of 8:21.69 – in the process qualifying for tomorrow’s C/D semifinals which features rankings between 13 and 24.
For tomorrow’s C/D semifinals, the first three finishers will proceed to the C Final, while the remaining rowers proceed to the D Final.