Kambowe plans on making comeback soon

By Michael Uugwanga

TWO things stand out from Veronica Kambowe’s childhood memories of the late 2000s; the first is enjoying running during physical education at primary school at the village and the other being glued to the television to watch her hero, Frankie Fredericks, running in the later stage of his career.

Kambowe might have been born a sprinter like her idol, legendary former Olympic silver medalist Fredericks, but she was deeply inspired by fellow schoolmates during her secondary school years.

Today she is one of the fastest female athletes in the country and specialises in the 100m and 200m, although she faces stiff competition from the likes of Beatrice Masilingi, who is currently regarded as the country’s undisputed queen in the 200m and 400m, surpassing former top female sprinter Tjipe Herunga who at one point was seen as the next Fredericks.

At 22, Kambowe is at an ideal age to chase her dream of competing at major international events such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games or at world championships.

“I am not yet dreaming of the Olympic Games now, as I just decided to become an athlete in 2015. I only joined the Oshakati Athletics Club the same year since I finished my secondary education. Since my childhood I just enjoyed running and every time when we go for physical education I just wanted to run, as I was the fastest in the class.

“In 2007 I moved to Ongwediva to stay with my mother until I completed my secondary education. In 2010, I was the fastest girl in the 100m and 200m event in my age group. That is when I went to compete at Oshakati Independence Stadium, where I tried my level best but I only made it through in the 100m. The following year I then added the 400m and the long jump. I was inspired by four girls at my school who were also runners. I grew up admiring Fredericks because he won for the country four silver medals,” said Kambowe.

So far Namibian sprinters have found it hard to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus, including Masilingi who is on an Olympic scholarship.

However, Masilingi (17) still has a chance to qualify – if and when COVID-19 is contained – for events slated later this year.

Kambowe on the other hand said she first has to qualify to the All-Africa Games before even thinking of Olympic or Commonwealth Games.

A teacher by profession, Kambowe has been away from athletics for some time following the birth of her child and due to work commitments, but she is adamant that she can bounce back and resume her athletics career.

“The COVID-19 has not really affected my athletics future as I cannot compete this season. I took a break from the sport to have my baby. It is not really easy to balance my profession with athletics as I used to have a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to come back as a mother and do my best. My target is just to train hard so that I qualify for the All-Africa Games,” she said.

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