Fingers crossed for Mboma

Limba Mupetami

WINDHOEK

Namibia’s Christine Mboma has done all there is to do on the track and is hoping for a nomination in the upcoming 2021 World Athletics Awards slated for December.

Ten awards will be handed out, which include: Athlete of the year, female and male world athlete of the year, female and male rising stars of the year, coaching achievement award, inspiration award, member federations award, woman of the year, presidents award and athletics photograph of the year.

Mboma has made so many strides this year, both locally and internationally, and that alone warrants a nomination.

Her coach Henk Botha believes she stands a chance, but added that one never knows how it will play out due to politics in athletics.

Long list of achievements

The track star has many achievements to her name. On 11 April, she set the Namibian senior and world under-20 record in the 400 metres in Zambia at the All-Comers Meet, breaking a 30-year record Germany’s Gritt Breuer set in a time of 49.24 seconds.

A week later on 17 April, at the Namibian Championships in Windhoek, Mboma took 0.2 seconds off her record, stopping the clock at 49.22 seconds. On 7 June, she set a new personal best, Namibian and a meet record of 22.67 seconds in the 200 m at the Josef Odlozil Memorial in Prague to take a gold medal.

On 30 June, Mboma set African senior and new world U-20 record in the 400 m, lowering her personal best even further. She ran 48.54 seconds to break the 49.10 second mark set by Nigeria’s Falilat Ogunkoya-Osheku and win the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Poland, becoming the seventh fastest woman of all time in the event, with the 12th fastest result ever.

On 3 August at the Tokyo Olympic Games, she won a silver medal, breaking the world U-20 record for the third time in 21.81 seconds in the final. She became the first Namibian woman ever to win an Olympic medal, and the first Namibian medallist since 1996.

‘Complicated’ process

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe admitted that this year’s nomination process had been “complicated” by the disruption of the pandemic, but insisted it will reflect performances from across the year.

“As always, the World Athletics Awards will recognise athletes who have performed at the highest level across the year, taking into account not only the Olympic Games, but the one-day meeting circuits,” he said.

To get proceedings underway, the 10 nominees for male world athlete of the year will be announced today and the nominees for female category on 22 October. The five male and female finalists will be announced on 22 and 23 November.

Five female and five male rising stars nominees will be announced on 8 and 9 November, from which a winner will be selected by an international panel of experts.

Entries for the athletics photograph of the year will open on 21 October, with three finalists to be confirmed on 16 November.

The member federation award will include six finalists to be announced on 11 November, while the rest of the award nominations announcements will be done later in November.