26 Aug 2019 10:30am
CASABLANCA, 26 AUG (NAMPA) Namibias mixed chess team on Sunday finished in sixth place out of 20 countries that competed in the mixed team events at the Africa Games underway in Casablanca.
The Namibian athletes who comprised of Nicola Tjaronda, Lishen Mentile, Charles Eichab and Dante Beukes lost their opening match on Saturday at the competition against host Morocco.
The team however pulled themselves together after the defeat and went on to win two matches against Mali and Ethiopia.
Out of the five games they competed in on the opening day they lost two more against Nigeria and their neighbours Angola.
On day two (Sunday) of the mixed team events the Namibian quartet played four matches against Cameroon, Mauritius, Malawi and Cape Verde of which they won three matches.
They only lost against Malawi and were within striking distance of a bronze medal which was won by Zimbabwe.
Team Namibia finished sixth on the log standing levelled on 10 points with Botswana in fifth place while Nigeria finished fourth on 11 points.
Egypt won the gold medal after collecting 17 points from nine games while Algeria took silver on 16 points and Zimbabwe occupied third spot with 12 points.
Speaking to Nampa on Sunday, Team Namibias coach Otto Nakapunda said the team punched above their weight.
We are very excited about the results because finishing sixth above the heavy weights in Africa like Morocco, Ethiopia, Malawi and Kenya is a big achievement for these players as well as Namibian chess, he said.
Chess in Namibia, he added has grown over the years despite having minimum resources and can only expect good things going forward because the foundation that was laid 10 years ago is now yielding results.
Our goal at the competition was to finish in the top 10 but being in the medal contention in our last day is a good step that we have to build on, Nakapunda said.
The coach stated that the athletes did really well in the name of chess as well as their country. The team will continue with their individual blitz and rapid play on Monday.