She has done what many thought would never be accomplished; satisfying the country’s dry spell of medals for the past 16 years since former sprint-ace Frank Fredericks brought home four silver medals from past Olympic Games.
Fredericks managed to clinch silver medals in the 100m and 200m men’s final in Barcelona, Spain and Atlanta, United States of America, respectively in two consecutive Olympic Games.
There is not much difference between the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, however, the only visible observation is that those competing in the Paralympic Summer Games are athletes with physical challenges but are as good as their able-bodied counterparts.
The question on the lips of many of Benson’s fans and those who have realised the importance of being a patriotic Namibian is; will the Walvis Bay Municipality accord the highest honour of naming a street after Benson?
The 22-year-old suffers from a cerebral palsy condition but that did not stop her from clinching the silver medal in the T37 100m women’s final. To add cherry on the cake, Benson scooped a gold medal in the 200m women’s final late last week.
Being the only woman to have won both silver and gold medals for Namibia after 22 years of independence, fans have suggested the naming of a street, a hefty cash prize in recognition of her achievement or financial assistance to help her complete her secondary school.
Contacted by V-Sports, Johanna’s mother (Adelheid Benson) affectionately known as ‘Baby’, said she is extremely very happy with her daughter’s latest achievement, “I have no regrets giving birth to Johanna the way she is, instead, I thank God for having blessed me with her.” She added that it would be a dream-come-true and a great blessing if the Municipality of Walvis Bay named a street after her.
“I am very happy that she brought home gold and silver medals and I hope that the residents of Walvis Bay will accord her a huge reception for her home coming,” she stressed.
After independence, the City of Windhoek recognised Fredericks’ achievement on the track during his sprinting era. Now it’s time for the Municipality of Walvis Bay to emulate that for Benson.
The Olympian is currently a Grade 10 student at the Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) and has two younger sisters while her mother who is the only bread winner works for Gendor Pescanova (a fishing company). Johanna’s father is unemployed and lives in the North.
“When she is not doing school work, my daughter goes to the Sunshine Centre to train and really loves sports,” says the 48-year-old mother.
Medicalnews.com states that cerebral palsy encompasses a set of neurological conditions that cause physical disability in human development by affecting the brain and the nervous system.
‘Palsy’ means ‘complete or partial muscle paralysis frequently accompanied by loss of sensation and uncontrollable body movements or tremors’.
Namibia Sports Commission (NSC)’s chief administrator, Walter Haseb said they are, in collaboration with the line ministry and Disability Sport Namibia (DSN), discussing how best to welcome Benson and teammates upon arrival on Tuesday at 15:30 in Windhoek.wsa