TWO Namibian teenagers have once again stunned the athletics world by posting the fastest 400m times of 2021 in Lusaka yesterday.
Christine Mboma, who is still only 17, and Beatrice Masilingi, who turned 18 on Saturday, finished first and second in phenomenal times of 49,24 and 49,53 seconds respectively at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka yesterday.
On Saturday, two American athletes, Shamier Little and Quanera Hayes set the world’s fastest times this year of 49,91 and 49,92 seconds respectively in Florida, but yesterday the two Namibians exceeded that with their performances at the All comers Invitational Athletics Meeting in Lusaka.
In the process they also set several new records – Mboma set a new Namibian senior record, while it was the first time that both athletes had gone under the magical 50,00 second mark. Mboma also set a new world u20 record, breaking the previous mark of 49,42, which was set 30 years ago by Gritt Breuer of Germany, while Masilingi’s time was the third fastest u20 time in history.
Both athletes also once again comfortably beat the Olympic Games qualifying time of 51,35 seconds, with Mboma doing it a second time and Masilingi a third time this year.
When contacted shortly after the race, their coach Henk Botha was clearly overjoyed.
“I’m still out of breath – my heart is beating in my throat and I’m struggling to keep the tears away. The race was unbelievable – the start, everything was just text book stuff. Over the last 20 metres anyone could still win, but Christine was the hungriest to win it on the day,” he said.
“We must put this in context – these are world class times; they are currently number one and two in the world this year; and it’s also unofficially a new u20 world record. It’s absolutely phenomenal and Im so proud of the girls, showing the world that Namibia has top-class athletes. Now we will work towards the Tokyo Olympic Games to ensure that we produce the best results for our people and our country,” he added.
Masilingi also once again qualified for the Olympics in the 200m when she came second behind Rodah Njobvu in a new Namibian record time of 22,72 seconds which beat the Olympics qualifying time of 22,80.
Mboma displayed her versatility with a great run in the women’s 800m which she won in 2:03,27, beating the second placed Zambian athlete by more than ten seconds.
Two other Namibian athletes also competed at the meet with Ane Rautebach coming fifth in the women’s 200m in 24,27 seconds, while Ernst Narib came sixth in the men’s 200m in 20,62 seconds, which was just 0,03 seconds outside the Commonwealth Games qualifying time.