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Shilimela begins quest for Olympic glory
The Namibian team has settled in at the Athletes Village after their arrival in London on Saturday and wrestler Sem Shilimela has already started training with his Cuban coach Luis Forcelledo.
Shilimela recently competed at an international wrestling tournament in Spain where he won two bouts against wrestlers from Moldova and Kazakhstan and lost one bout to a wrestler from Turkey.
Shilimela eventually finished fifth in his 55kg freestyle category and said his performance gave him hope for the Olympics.
“There were a lot of Olympic wrestlers competing in Spain so my performances gave me confidence and I will be aiming for a medal at the Olympics,” he said.
Shilimela said although there will be a lot of pressure on him to do well that doesn’t faze him.
“In the past I’ve always come back with a medal when I went overseas to compete, so people now always expect me to bring a medal home. But they don’t realise how difficult it will be at the Olympics where the best wrestlers in the world will be competing,” he said.
Shilimela said the draw for his first round opponent will play a big role in determining his chances at the Olympics.
“Hopefully I can avoid one of the favourites early on but I aim to go far and I will only be satisfied if I win a medal,” he said.
Shilimela said he was a bit worried about his lack of competition ahead of the Olympics, with the Spain tournament being his only active competition after he qualified for the Olympics at the beginning of June.
“I would have liked to have more fights but now it’s too late. But I am not nervous; I’m looking forward to the Olympics and I will just have to take my chances,” he said.
Forcelledo said he was happy with Shilimela’s preparation and expected the wrestler to do well.
“Sem has a positive personality and he is mentally and physically well prepared. The competition will be tough but he badly wants to win a medal so let’s wait and see how he does,” he said.
Shilimela is still very young and will only turn 21 on July 30, but what he lacks in experience he certainly makes up in confidence.