Magano killing the game

Namibian medallist taking the world by storm
2021 junior sportsman of the year Magano Naseb shares insight into his life as an athlete and teenager.
Mariud Ngula and Brian Munango
Magano Naseb is a track athlete who participates in 100-metre, 200 m and 400 m categories. He started taking sprinting seriously in 2019 when he was 12. In that same year, he participated in the International Inter-District Twinning Agreement Athletics in Upington, South Africa, and took home a silver medal in the 100 m, bronze in 200 m, gold in the long jump as well as bronze in the 4×100 m relay. His accomplishments helped him qualify for the nationals, and he was set to take part in the 200 m category, but was disqualified due to false starting.

He then participated in the 100 m instead, in which he won a gold medal at a national level, which allowed him to represent Namibia in Eswatini.

One of the fun facts about him is his love for anime. He has watched multiple animes over the years, however, there was one he liked more than the rest and would consider a personal favourite. It is a Japanese manga series, ‘One Piece’, a real classic written by Eiichiro Oda, and has been around for over two decades since its premiere in July 1997.

It made his childhood memorable and worth reminiscence, as it has over a hundred volumes with each one encapsulating about 10 episodes. “My love for it came from its copious number of episodes. They started making it even before I was born,” Naseb proclaimed. When he’s not fixed on screens watching anime, he enjoys hanging out with his friends and playing PlayStation, where he rivals them in video games like NBA, FIFA, and WarZone. He claims the PlayStation console is even more fun.

Naseb gets his motivation from the ‘three Ds’ motto his parents are forever reciting to him. They stand for determination, dedication and discipline, characteristics he tries to honour and do his best to live by each day.

Before fixing his eyes on the television screen for his favourite anime or wielding a PlayStation controller against his friends, he makes sure his homework is done and dusted for school the following day. Education is one of the crucial things in life and he tries, by all means, to balance it with his sports. He also does some home workouts.

To refrain from unnecessary injury, he avoids partaking in other sport codes. Even though an athlete himself, there is someone he looks up to and considers his role model – Andre De Grasse. De Grasse is a Canadian sprinter who he has been waiting to go up against all his life. Naseb aims to grow into a humble and great athlete who strives to achieve all his goals. He also advised aspiring athletes to first have a vision of where they see themselves in the future. He said they should write down their goals and vision and pray over them.

Goldey Isaacks, Naseb’s trainer who has been coaching him since 2019, revealed that it came as a surprise to see him go this far and achieve so much at his age. He also added that he does his best to keep him ahead of his competition by focusing his training on an 11-month basis, which keeps him fit and ready to compete. However, he makes sure to not push him too much as he reaches his peak too early, which can be bad for the next season. “Progress is slow but good. We are on the perfect pace this season,” the coach said.

What surprised his trainer the most was his qualification for Eswatini, as he didn’t expect Naseb to compete regionally just yet. “I remember his mom calling me and telling me about it and I was so confused as to what was happening. Even though he went without me as I was busy with stuff here in Namibia and he was in Eswatini, he ran a very fast time for his age and represented the country very well,” Isaacks said.