The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016, kick off today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Namibian athletes are ready and set to reap medals for the country. The competitive stage has invited countries to pull all strings to get ready to compete on the international stage until 21 August.
The delegation of five athletes together with their caretakers arrived in the Brazilian capital city on Friday and Saturday, where compete in various sport codes. The other five athletes only flew out for the competition yesterday.
Early this week, medal magnet boxer and Namibia Olympic habitual medal collector Jonas Junias was named as the country’s flag bearer at the summer games. Junias became a household celebrated name when he won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games two years ago at the age of 20. Later that year, Junias scooped the Namibian Sportsman of the Year as well as the Sports Achiever of the Year Award.
Junias will partner with Mathias Hamunyela in the hope of harvesting top medals in boxing. Gaby Ahrens will be Namibia’s hope in clay target shooting while much-celebrated Dan Craven alongside Michelle Vorster and Vera Adrian will also be looking forward to cycling a few medals home. Long distance regulars Helalia Johannes, Beata Naigambo and record breaker Mynhardt Kauanivi will sail together with hopeful Alina Armas in equal search for victory.
Alina Armas makes her maiden appearance with the national flag in the women’s 42 km marathon. Speaking to the athlete during preparations for the games, Alina said she was not only happy but looks forward to doing her best.
“I should say I am happy to firstly represent my country. I look forward to improving my time and if God allows, I would, of course, aim for victory,” said the 32-year-old athlete.
“It is, of course, not an easy one. You have the whole world looking at you and your country with their fingers crossed hoping for victory. God is my guide and all I promise is to do my best,” said the starlet.
According to one of the coaches of the Namibian athletes, coach Robert Kaxuxuena, the athletes have long prepared for the games and thus leave it up to the athletes to make the nation proud.
With the blessings of the Youth, Sports and National Services deputy Minister Agnes Tjongarero the nation is expected to fully support the athletes as they take on the world champion of champions. “I believe that they are ready and I have told them to do their best. Personally, I know we will get medals, especially from our boxers but there is potential with all of them,” said the deputy minister.
On Saturday 6 August, Hamunyela will take on Rufat Huseynov from Azerbaijan while Junias will take on Hassan Amzille from France on Thursday, 11 August, in the Round of 32. Gaby Ahrens will be in action on Sunday, 7 August, in the qualification zone. The cyclist will compete on Saturday, 6 August. The Women’s Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, 14 August, while the Men’s Marathon will only be run on the last day, 21 August.