It took heart to win: Shikongo
Gold medallist Ananias Shikongo has revealed that determination and strength carried him through at the recently-concluded Rio Paralympic Games, where he wrote himself into the history books by becoming the first Namibian athlete to win three medals.
Shikongo won gold in the T11 200m final, silver in the T11 100m final and bronze in the T11 400m race.
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer earlier this week, the visually impaired athlete paid homage to his teammates and guide, who he described as “wonderful”.
“When I went to the Paralympics, I made a promise that I was going to deliver and I did that in some great fashion. The journey of my life has not been easy, given that I have lived in poverty and that is something which has made me stronger as a person.
“Our preparations back home were not that good, but I managed to make it, because of my heart and commitment towards the sport. I have a wonderful team, who encouraged and motivated me to accomplish my dream of becoming a Paralympic gold medallist. I have had a magnificent guide, who understands me and knows what I like and dislike.
“Our mutual understanding has obviously been the reason why we have formed a lethal team over the years,” Shikongo said.
Born on 21 July 1986 in Okankolo village in the Oshikoto region, Shikongo said he knew he was destined for greatness, even at a young age.
The sprinter, who only managed to reach the semi-finals at the London Paralympics four years ago, believes he could have done better at the Rio Games, had it not been for the time change and heat.
“I believe I could have made it three gold medals at the competition, but the change in time, compared to Namibia, played a major role in some of my weakest performances. I would also say that fatigue, due to the hot temperatures in Brazil, cost me gold medals in the other two races.
“Nonetheless, I am very excited about the future, given that I am now a Paralympic gold medallist and my confidence is very high. I hope that this has served as a lesson to many young people with disabilities that anything can happen, if you believe in yourself. I truly hope that my victory will make a difference in the lives of many people in Namibia,” the 29-year-old added.