Saara Shikongo, 17, is beside herself. The young middle-distance pioneer will take part in the Gaborone International Meet in Botswana alongside her idols and compatriots Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi this weekend.
“It’s so good,” she exclaimed shyly.
Unassuming and shy of the track, Shikongo is slowly carving out a reputation as a beast.
She intends to bring that drive and ambition to Botswana.
“I’m going to compete in Botswana and I’ll do my best. I’m going to get a gold medal. I’m not afraid of anyone,” the 10th grader from Ongwediva Secondary School said boldly.
She is placed in Section B of the World Athletics Continental Tour – bronze level competition, as are several of her members of the Namibian invitational team.
“I’m also looking forward to qualifying [for a major competition]so I will do my best,” she said.
The Gaborone International Meet provides a gateway to the African Games, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Veteran sprinter Ernst Narib, who is entered for the 100m, 200m, 4×100 and 4×400, said given the limited access to racing overseas he intended to make the most of the outing of Saturday.
Alongside Mboma and Masilingi, Gilbert Hainuca, Mahmad Bock, Danny Geldenhuys Frieda Iithete, Dam David, Roger Haitengi and Narib are set to compete in Category A events.
“We are more than ready to perform. A number of athletes are knocking on the door to qualify for major international events. I am sure we will seize this opportunity with both hands,” Narib said.
The invitational team consists of: Women – Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi, Johanna Ludgerus, Ane Rautenbach, Tuane Silver, Nandi Vass, Frieda Ithete, Innocentia Haingura, Saara Shikongo, Tuuliki Angala, Ndawana Haitembu and Carien Oosthuizen.
Men – Ernt Narib, Gilbert Hainuca, Onesmus Nekundi, Ivan Danny Geldenhuys, Mahmad Bock, Andre Retief, Warren Goreseb, Hatango Murere, Arno Angula, Dam David, Daniel Paulus, Simon Paulus, Sandro Diergaardt, Chenoult Coetzee, Roger Haitengi and Ryan William .