All set for Massa’s K20 million swimming competition
By Ronald Mpaso & Mphatso Malidadi:
Young swimmers from different schools across the country’s lakeshore districts are set to take a dip into the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi during the inaugural swimming in schools competition.
The event, organised by Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa), is scheduled for Sunbird Chintheche in Nkhata Bay District today.
The districts to compete are Mangochi, Salima, Likoma, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay, Rumphi and Karonga.
Massa president Blackson Malamula said the competition will help retain learners in school and control delinquent behaviour.
“Due to abscondment of classes, early pregnancies and other delinquent behaviours which are rampant among the youth and learners along our lakeshore districts, we thought of coming up with something to contribute towards changing the status quo.
“We came to realise that when youths spent most of their time doing nothing, they can indulge in all sorts of unbecoming behaviour. They say an idle mind is the workshop of the devil. So we want to see the young ones engaging in gainful activities,” Malamula said.
He said athletes to be identified from the competition will be handed over to Malawi Aquatic Union for proper training.
“For a long time, Malawi has not produced a medal-winning athlete in swimming and yet we have the lake. So the athletes identified will represent Malawi in future international tournaments after proper training,” Malamula said.
He said Chintheche was an ideal venue for the competition because its lake depth is shallow compared to other parts of Lake Malawi during this time of the season.
Each of the seven districts will be represented by 10 athletes.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has funded the event with K20 million.
The institution’s public relations and communications officer Edgar Ntulumbwa said the event is under Malawi Youth Games.
“Currently, Massa handles the Malawi Youth Games. As such it was proper to let Massa run the swimming competition,” he said.
Ntulumbwa said they decided to fund the exercise to enable Malawi produce medal winning swimmers.
“It is believed that we have a lot of good swimmers along the Lakeshore. Therefore, we want to tap raw talent from such areas,” he said.
Sports Minister Uchizi Mkandawire is expected to grace the event which will be spiced up with performances by Parker Town Band and traditional dances such as Malipenga and Chilimika.
Local young swimmers did not win a medal during the Region 5 Youth Games in Lilongwe in December but impressed at the just ended Cana Zone VI Championships in Luanda, Angola.