Recent trials and tribulations have done little to dampen Jonas Junias Jonas’ spirit or ambition. The decorated amateur boxer remains positive that he will get that elusive Olympic Games gold in Tokyo.
“Obviously gold,” he says when asked what he would bring back from Japan.
Jonas spent over a month in police custody over charges of attempted murder, the obstruction of justice, the assault of a police officer, and violating Covid-19 curfew regulations, following a violent incident on 16 April.
He is currently out on bail and is putting in a shift for the Tokyo Games.
His latest brush with the law is reminiscent of his time at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2014 when he was arrested over allegations of sexually assaulting a Brazilian housekeeper at the athletes’ village.
“That was just a pothole in the way, but we move on. I’m emotionally ready and focused on the way forward,” Jonas says of his troubles.
The Games in Japan are a redemption mission for Jonas after his botched debut in Rio, where he was the flag bearer.
Given his chequered rap sheet, Jonas is unlikely to be granted that tag this time around.
He has enough scrutiny on his plate, considering that he is the only Namibian boxer to have qualified for the Games this time around.
“I feel honoured, but I don’t feel good, because lots of guys worked hard but didn’t make it. The country should just expect the best as usual,” he says.
Jonas’ mentor, Albertus Tsamaseb, says they channelled the energy from the Brazil failure into a success strategy for Tokyo.
He knows his prodigy well, having groomed him from a raw nine-year-old to a multiple African Champion and Commonwealth Games title winner.
“He grew up with me. I know how to get the best out of him,” Tsamaseb says.
“I’m very happy that we qualified for the Olympics for the second time. The first time, when we did not bring back the gold, I told him we must work now for the next four years, and we must bring back that gold,” the wily trainer, who runs a gym named after him at Swakopmund, says.
Jonas and Tsamaseb are adamant they will not disappoint again.
“I started very young, so it’s like boxing is in me. My message to Namibia is to keep safe and to stay away from toxic things and look forward to good things,” Jonas says.
“My preparations started four years ago. So, now it’s just sharpening my technique and IQ,” he says.
“It’s well so far, but we’re waiting for the NNOC to let us know whether we’re going to [continue] preparing in the United States or Cuba as they stated before.
“So far, we’re using every resource on the ground to get ready for the games,” he says.
Jonas will turn professional after the Olympics.
His planned 1 May paid-ranks debut was curtailed by his ongoing court case.
“Some of the promoters are looking for him. So, when he comes back from Japan, maybe they can talk to him and organise fights for him,” his trainer says.