19 Dec 2018 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 19 DEC (NAMPA) - Namibia ended eighth overall with 29 medals at the 2018 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Under-20 (U20) Youth Games held in Gaborone, Botswana from 06 to 16 December.
The team of 152 athletes competed in football (men and women), track and field, athletics visual impaired, boxing, basketball, netball, swimming, judo, volleyball (men and women) and tennis against nine other southern African countries.
The team that was selected from the National Youth Games (NYG) held in Windhoek in May this year, performed below par as they only managed to collect three gold medals, 10 silver and 16 bronze.
South Africa are overall winners with 145 medals of which 70 are gold, followed by Angola with 47 medals (16 gold), Botswana third with 69 medals (12 gold); Zambia fourth with 26 medals (12 gold); and Zimbabwe fifth with 51 medals (nine gold).
Mozambique ended sixth with 22 medals (eight gold); Lesotho seventh with 13 medals (four gold); Malawi ninth with six medals (no gold) and Swaziland 10th with one bronze medal.
Namibian athletes with disabilities won five medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze) in track and field. Immanuel The Bullet Bernardo won two gold medals in the T11 100 metre (m), and 200m.
Namibia collected two silver and five bronze medals. Female swimmers - Heleni Stergiadis, Tiana Esslinger, Ju-Ane Oberholzer and Zune Weber - won the two silver medals in the 4x100m freestyle and medley relay events.
Namibias young boxers were tourists at this year event after their dismal performance in the ring. Only one boxer managed to win a fight at the competition to reach the semi-finals, while two other boxers reached the semi-finals without fighting in the knockout stages due to limited number of boxers who showed up.
Namibia collected three bronze medals after three of their boxers were knocked out in their semi-final fights.
Namibias basketball team failed to win a match at this competition. They found the competition tough but had good ball control in their match against Botswana, who were the only country they could weigh themselves against with pound for pound.
Namibia was totally outplayed by Angola and South Africa.
Track and Field
This year athletes competing in the track and field events did exceptionally well as they collected most of team Namibias medals at the competition. Natalie Louw won gold in the long jump and backed it up with a silver in the high jump.
Chantell du Toit and Sandro Diergaardt won silver medals in the long jump events, for women and men respectively. Warren Goreb also won a silver medal in the 400 metre (m) hurdles. Zurial April also added silver in 100m hurdles.
Bernhard Wessels, won a silver medal in the mens javelin event while Wilmé Els also added a silver medal through javelin to team Namibias winnings on the day.
Apart from the one gold and seven silvers the track and field athletes also raked in four bronze medals. Which made the track and field team tally of 12 medals overall.
The national U20 womens football team finished the competition on fourth place after losing out on a medal to Zimbabwe. The womens team could have reached the final but due to a lack of consistency by their goalkeeper they lost a game in the semi-finals against Botswana after conceding silly goals from the centreline.
The mens football team were an eyesore after failing to score a single goal in their three matches in which the conceded seven goals. All players were selected from the NYG but had no preparation before the AUSC.
This was the first time Namibia took a judo team to the Games and they were rewarded with a bronze medal. Juan Johnson won Namibias first medal in the 91+ category in the mens event.
This was also the first time that Namibia took a volleyball team to the competition and the mens volleyball team won a bronze medal after finishing behind Botswana and South Africa respectively.
The female volleyball team finished fourth at the competition but showed so more character and room to grow. Both volleyball teams were a good representation and an example to be followed by all codes when selecting their teams at the next AUSC.
Namibia ended fifth in a group of seven teams. South Africa won gold, Malawi silver and Zimbabwe bronze. Zambia finished fourth while Lesotho was sixth and the host country Botswana ended seventh.
The tennis team missed out on medals in singles matches and failed to qualify for the doubles matches.
The next edition of the AUSC Youth Games will be held in Lesotho in 2020.