Distinguished long distance athlete and now Common Wealth gold medalist, Helalia Johannes, has been promoted from Corporal to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 with effect from yesterday, after she scooped gold at the recently held Common Wealth Games.
Johannes was hailed by the defense minister, Penda ya Ndakolo and Major General Ben Kadhila Chief of Staff Joint Operations, representing the Chief of Defense Force, at a welcoming event a day after she arrived from Australia.
Speaking at the occasion, the minister said, “To win a gold medal at games of this magnitude is a national pride and she has put Namibia on the world map again. Her history as an athlete is telling us that persistence pays off as she has finally made it to the top of athletics.”
Warrant Officer Helalia has represented Namibia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and now at the recently held Common Wealth Games.
She has won bronze medals at the Military World Games, the All Africa Games winning Namibia’s second gold medal when she won the women’s marathon by completing the 42.2Km marathon in a time of 2hours 33minutes 23 seconds.
“Congratulations Warrant Officer Johannes for this extraordinary achievement,” said the minister.
The minister also acknowledged other members of the defense force urging them to take after Johannes and continue to train hard.
He took the occasion to also encourage the fostering of sports within the NDF so that it becomes a hobby.
“I heard that some NDF athletes abandon sport because when commanders select members for promotion, athletes, in most cases, are not considered for promotion because sometimes they are away busy with sports when the section for promotion is done. We need to change that practice and encourage our members to take part in sport at all levels,” said the minister.
Meanwhile, the Common Wealth Games were held in the Gold Coast, Queensland, between the 4th and the 15th of April and Namibia came out with another gold from the young boxer, Jonas Junius Jonas.