Two local runners Stern Lifa and Asimenye Simwaka are close to making history by becoming first Malawians to qualify for Olympic Games.
The two reportedly performed well during the qualifiers for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at Heroes Stadium, Lusaka, Zambia over the weekend.
Lifa, who competed in short distance sprinting 100, 200-metre (m) events alongside Gift Kawale whereas Simwaka took part in short distance and middle distance 400m
But it was Lifa and Simwaka who stole the show for breaking records. Lifa broke his personal best he registered at World Athletics championship in Doha, Qatar, in 2019 whereas Simwaka, who is also Malawi Women’s Football Team striker, has broken national record in 400m set by late Getrude Banda.
This means Lifa and Simwaka will take part in the final qualifiers slated to take place in Botswana next month.
Mercy Malembo participated in 1,500 and 3,000m. Kawale and Malembo also managed their personal best. Both Malembo and Kawale also have an opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
Athletics Association of Malawi General Secretary Frank Chitembeya was excited.
“Our athletes have performed well. We are gaining a mile. We wish them all the best. Thanks to the technical team,” Chitembeya said Sunday from Zambia.
The four athletes travelled to Zambia by road using Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) bus alongside coach Pachisi Nyasulu and leader of delegation James Mangani.
Moc General Secretary John Kaputa urged the athletes to keep on working hard.
“We want to encourage them to aim higher. They should not relax because the qualifiers are not yet over,” Kaputa, who is also Football Association of Malawi Technical Director, said.
Malawi athletes have never qualified for Olympics Games but have been participating on solidarity grounds. Local athletes from sporting codes namely archery, judo and athletics will participate in the qualifiers.