NDAWANA HAITEMBU is the new 100-meter national champion.

Haitembu made her mark at the Athletics Namibia Senior National Track & Field Championships, which took place over the past weekend at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek.

The 20-year-old 100- and 200-meter athlete became the 100-meter national champion, running her personal best of sub-12 to clinch gold on the day while Jade Nangula came in second and Johanna Ludgerus finished in third.

Haitembu is no stranger to the athletics circle and says this is just the beginning of an already exciting journey.

SRSM chats with the National Champion about her achievement and future in athletics.

When and where did your love for sports begin?

My late father, Daniel Haitembu, was an athlete and the previous record holder for the men’s 400m, a record that stood for 42 years. I inherited my talent from him; my love for sports began at an early age of 7 years.

When you started out, who were some of the women athletes that motivated you and why?

Shelly-Anne Fraser Pryce was one of my role models. I’ve always been in awe of her speed, especially out of the blocks. But what inspired me mostly was her massive comeback after giving birth, where she won gold at the World Championships. How she was able to break the narrative that women cannot return to sports the same after giving birth.

What do you love most about the athletic season?

I love that I am able to showcase the results of God’s grace and favor upon me, as well as the hard work I’ve been putting in.

What was the feeling like when you crossed the finishing line?

PROLIFIC, just as I am. I knew I had run sub-12 the moment I crossed the finish line, and my first thought was “Glory to God”. However, I was disappointed that there was a malfunction with the electronic timing, hence my official time wasn’t captured but only hand time.

How does it feel to win gold?

It still feels surreal, especially because I won gold with a massive new personal best.

Being an athlete requires discipline and dedication. How important is this when you are an athlete?

Being disciplined as an athlete is important as it builds your character, and as a result, you’re able to focus on your goals and fulfill them with minimal or no distractions.

Through dedication, one is able to reach their goals. The results you get are a result of your level of dedication to your sport.

What do you love about being a sportswoman?

I love that I am able to do what I love the most: glorify God and inspire upcoming athletes.

 Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a great sportswoman?

I believe my faith in God is my greatest strength. My level of greatness is solely because of His presence in my life, as all my strength comes from him.

What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how did you overcome them?

Last year, I had a hamstring injury that took a toll on my season, and in early February this year, I had a foot injury (plantar fasciitis), which resulted in me missing training and not competing in most of the competitions.

I overcame these challenges by staying rooted in the Word of God, speaking health upon myself, and having faith that I was well.

What’s the greatest lesson you have learned so far in your experience as an athlete?

I have learned to be expectant, to speak faith-filled words every day over myself and my career, and most importantly, to be patient and trust God’s timing.

What is your greatest ambition?

My greatest ambition is to see how far I can go with the power of God within me as well as to see people saved.

Apart from athletics, what else are you doing and how are you managing your time?

I am currently an intern at the Namibia Sport Commission and also a farm manager. I manage my time by prioritizing and not procrastinating.

If you could improve or change one thing for women in sports, what would it be?

It would definitely be body shaming of women in sports. It saddens me that our body types are a result of the hard work we put in every day towards reaching our goals, yet we are termed “too masculine or manlike. Yet these same bodies, with every distance, are proving to us that we are capable of more than we ever thought possible.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

Finally running under 12

– becoming the 100m National Champion

2021 u20 4x100m Relay Silver Medalist

2021 National 100m Bronze Medalist

2021 National 200-meter Bronze Medalist

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