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60 athletes to compete at Bingu National Stadium

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Over 60 athletes are set to compete today during the official opening ceremony of the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) President, Godfrey Phiri, said the runners have been drawn from all the three regions of the country and have been allocated 30 minutes to compete in three categories.

The categories are 200 metres, 1,500 metres and 4×100 metres relay race.

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“We are treating this as a national event. In fact, it is the first one for us in the year 2017. Our regional chairmen, who are also coaches, have done their best to prepare their athletes for the tournament. So the nation should expect a great show,” Phiri said.

He said AAM was excited with the official opening of the stadium as it would offer the country’s athletes an opportunity to train using standard facilities.

Phiri blamed the poor performance of local athletes in international competitions on the lack of good training facilities in the country.

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“The new stadium has come to solve the problem of using sub-standard facilities for preparing our competitors. The athletes will now have little to complain about when it comes to preparations,” Phiri explained.

Athletics is just one of the activities lined up for the day. Others are traditional dances, military displays and the football match between the Flames and Guangzhou R&F.

Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Minister, Henry Mussa, told a news conference on Tuesday in Lilongwe, that 40,000 tickets had been printed for free entry into the stadium.

Mussa said the stadium’s seating capacity will be strictly observed to ensure safety from any incidents resulting from overcrowding.

“We will close the gates once we run out of tickets. This is to ensure that we stick to the stadium’s capacity,” he explained.

According to Mussa, the tickets will be collected at the gates for entry into the stadium.

The minister announced that the country’s South Africa-based boxing icon, Isaac Chilemba, will also be in attendance.

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