Namibia’s Olympic wrestler Sem Shilimela got a big surprise when he returned home on Tuesday, as some of his Namibian supporters welcomed him back at the Hosea Kutako International Airport with a birthday cake.
The Namibian Olympic team received a subdued welcome with not many people turning up to welcome them back, but Shilimela was an exception as about 15 friends from the After School Centre Wrestling Club in Khomasdal turned up to welcome him back with a beautiful cake that they baked for his 21st birthday.
The cake was adorned with the five Olympic rings and a message: Happy 21st Sem Shilimela - You made us proud!
Shilimela turned 21 in London and had no time to celebrate as he was preparing for his wrestling bouts that started on August 10. Furthermore, he also had to lose some weight as he had to make the 55kg limit for the competition. But Shilimela’s self discipline was rewarded as he easily made his weight while he will now finally have time to relax and celebrate with his friends.
Amongst the group who welcomed him back were fellow wrestlers like Angula Shikongo and Jason Afrikaner; the acting chief community liaison officer of the centre, Adelheid Mbaukua, and members of her staff. Mbaukua said they were very proud of Shilimela.
“We are very happy and very proud of Sem, and for us he has already won a medal, just by representing his country at the Olympics. I want to wish him all the best, we are proud of him and we cannot hide our joy,” she said.
When Shilimela arrived he was clearly surprised and mobbed by all his friends and well wishers.
Shilimela’s coach Luis Forcelledo was also welcomed back with open arms, with some members of the group ululating as he entered the arrival hall. Forcelledo received a special word of praise from Mbaukua.
“We want to thank our coach Luis. If it was not for him we could not have achieved this. We are very proud of him and he is like a father figure for all the young wrestlers at our club. God sent him to us to make us all feel proud,” she said.