Ishitile wins Namibia’s first medal at World Champs

Namibia’s T11 female sprinter Lahja Ishitile, and her guide Sem Shimanda, on Tuesday night won Namibia’s first medal at the 2023 Paris World Para Athletics Championships underway in Paris, France.

Ishitile and Shimanda who have been impressive with their performances throughout the heats and semi-final, finished second in the final behind Thalita Simplicio of Brazil and her guide Felipe Veloso to win a silver medal for Team Namibia at the 2023 Paris World Para Athletics Championships.

Simplicio ran a personal best of 56.60 seconds to win gold, while Ishitile ran a new African record of 57.18 seconds, which replaced the one she set on Monday night in the semi-finals of 58.38 seconds.

In an interview with Nampa after the race on Tuesday, Ishitile said this is the first time she has reached the 400m final and winning a medal is a huge achievement and motivation for her.

“When Thalita (Simplicio) ran the fastest time of 56.78 seconds, I almost gave up, but while at the hotel, I told myself to give it my all and at least win any colour medal for my country,” she said.

She added that before the World Athletics Championships, she was not looking to win any medals.

“I set myself a goal of improving as an athlete for the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympic Games that is where I thought I was going to burn them all, but winning silverware at these championships is a huge motivation for me. I will continue working hard as we prepare for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games,” she said.

Meanwhile, her guide Shimanda told this agency that winning a medal at the championships is a huge achievement for Ishitile.

“I am happy to see that in the 400m races, we broke our African record. This is the first time Ishitile is reaching the finals of the 400m because, in the past, we ended up in the semi-finals or knocked out in the heats. We are looking forward to improving on this in future competitions,” she said.

After three days of competition, Namibia has one silver medal. In the previous edition of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Para Athletics Championships held in 2019 in Dubai, Team Namibia won two medals which were gold and bronze by Johannes Nambala in the 400m and 100m sprints.

Source: NAMPA