09 Sep 2016 18:20pm
By Hesron Kapanga
RIO DE JANEIRO, 09 SEP (NAMPA) - Namibian sprinter Johannes Nambala became the first Namibian athlete to win a medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Nambala won a silver medal in the mens T13, 100 metre category on Friday, finishing behind world record holder Jason Smyth of Ireland.
The Namibian reached the final on Thursday with an impressive second-place finish of 10.81 second behind Smyth, who ran 10.76 seconds.
On Friday, Nambala set a regional record of 10.78 seconds. Smyth ran 10.64 seconds.
Smyth set up the world record of 10.46 seconds at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Speaking to Nampa after the race, Nambala said he was happy to become the first Namibian athlete to win a medal in Brazil, as it will motivate his fellow athletes to do better in their races.
I have trained for Jason throughout the year and I feel happy to give him a run for the gold medal today. I did not expect to be so close but I am happy that with this silver medal other Namibian athletes will be motivated to do better at the games and at the same time I am making my country proud, he said.
His attention is now turned to the mens T13, 400m heats on 13 September.
I want to do better in the 400m despite it requiring a lot of energy to run that race. I am still hopeful of winning another medal for my country, said Nambala.
Meanwhile, Lahja Ishitile did not make it to the final of the womens T11, 100m final after finishing last in heat one of the semifinals on Friday.
Another Namibian athlete still expected to compete on Friday is Johanna Benson in the womens T37, 100m final at 22h36 Namibian time.
Nine athletes are representing Namibia at this years games in athletics, swimming and powerlifting.
The major international multi-sport event involves athletes with a range of disabilities and is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Team Namibia returned with two medals - one gold and one silver, both won by Benson - from the 2012 Paralympic Games held in London.