Johannes wins bronze at Athletics World Championships

28 Sep 2019 11:10am
WINDHOEK, 28 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia’s long-distance runner Helalia Johannes became the first female athlete to win a medal for Namibia at the World Athletics Championships (WAC) in Doha on Saturday morning.
Namibia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist crossed the line in third place and took home a bronze medal which is the first from a female athlete from Namibia at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athletics Championships.
Johannes crossed the line in a time of two hours, 34 minutes and 15 seconds (2:34:15). She was almost two minutes behind the winner Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya who earned the first gold medal of the 2019 IAAF WAC in a time of 2:32:43, which was the slowest 42.1 kilometre race winning time in world championship history.
Rose Chelimo of Bahrain who won the marathon in 2017 settled for a silver medal with a time of 2:33:46.
A group of 68 women lined up for the marathon and 28 of those runners didn’t get to the finish line. The event made headlines in advance due to the extreme heat and humidity conditions it was set to take place under.
In an interview posted on YouTube by the Namibian athlete said after finishing 11th at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she and her coach changed her training tactics and this has been bearing fruit now.
“When I won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games it was hot but today the weather was really hot here, however I am happy I became the first female athlete to win a medal for my country at the world championships and I feel proud,” she said.
In the build-up to the world champs the 39-year-old Johannes sported a personal best of 2:22:25 which was a national record when she won the Nagoya marathon in Japan earlier this year. She also won all of the Spar 10-kilometre runs that she competed in in South Africa while breaking the course records and setting up new Namibian records in those events.
Namibia is only being represented by two athletes at the IAAF WAC - Johannes and Meinhardt Thomas who will compete in the men’s marathon events. Both athletes are coached by Robert Kaxuxuena.