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Being in the water can be very lonely – that’s why we need our mothers

Being in the water can be very lonely – that’s why we need our mothers

By Natasha Jacha

Two very promising Namibian swimmers said their outstanding achievements would not have been possible without the unwavering support and commitment of their mothers.

Ronan Wantenaar and Jośe Canjulo both made huge waves during this past season’s Bank Windhoek Namibia National Swimming Championships. Over the past two years, Wantenaar (17) and Canjulo (12) have broken several Namibian records at local and international galas.

At home, Wantenaar broke three records at the South African National Aquatic Championships and in 2017, he broke the record at the 100 metre backstroke in Budapest at the International Swimming Federation World Champions. Later this year Wantenaar will swim in Algeria competing at the African Youth Games.

Canjulo broke his first record in 2016 at the age of ten and won his category in the open water sprint in Swakopmund last year. Canjulo achieved the Bank Windhoek short and long course junior Victor Ludorum at the Namibian Nationals this year and will swim in the 2018 South African Junior Championships. He has broken four Namibian records.

Although fiercely competitive, the two agree that it is only with their mothers’ support that they have performed so well. Belinda Wantenaar and Zenobia Beukes both played a big role in supporting their children in their swimming careers and help them to become two of the local top swimmers.

Reminiscing about what it takes to take their two champion swimmers to the next rung, the two mothers said that swimming is very demanding, not only on the athletes but also on their families. They end up multi-tasking, taking care of their own work while making sure their sons meet both their training and their academic schedules.

Furthermore, the two mothers said it is financially demanding to help keep their competitive youngsters at the forefront of their sport. In this regard they are grateful for the support given by Bank Windhoek to swimming as a sport.

“Motherhood is the highest calling in life and being able to support the development of our children’s talent is an honour,” they concluded.

Caption: Moms for ever, Belinda Wantenaar and her son Ronan (left), and Zenobia Beukes and her son Jośe Canjulo (right).



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The Economist accommodates two interns every year, one per semester. They are given less demanding, softer issues to hone their skills, often with a specific leaning to social issues. Today, many of our interns are respected journalists or career professionals at economic and financial institutions. - Ed.