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Athletics Association of Malawi cautious on Olympics preparations

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By Bernard Mhone:

QUERIED—Chitembeya (left) and athletes

Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) has tipped 12 athletes earmarked to compete in 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers to continue with individual training at their respective bases to keep shape.

The Olympic qualifiers were suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Locally, the government also suspended all sporting events because of the same pandemic.

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Following safety measures to curb the disease, AAM General Secretary, Frank Chitembeya, said the athletes were training at their respective homes with coaches doing follow ups through mobile phones.

“Athletes should not relax because they are like soldiers. They should always be ready to avoid being taken by surprise. For us to realise our targets, we must intensify preparations. We are hopeful that the athletes with their coaches are following precautions that have been put to stop coronavirus,” he said.

So far AAM has earmarked athletes such as Chikondi Mwanyali, Kefasi Kasiteni, Chancy Master, Happy Mcherenje, Stain Lifa, Golden Gunde, Dalitso Gunde, Frank Chitembeya Junior, Grevazio Mpani, Benedicto Makumba, Gift Kawale (men) Asimenye Simwaka, Moneyi Chingaipe, Mary Kamwendo, Carolyn Mhango, Cecilia Mhango, Mphatso Nandolo, Nalicy Chirwa and Miriam Kachingwe (ladies) to undergo local camping before being selected for Olympic qualifying championships.

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Chitembeya also said the postponement of the local championship has given them time to prepare thoroughly ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

When the ban on sporting events is lifted, AAM intends to call 12 athletes into camp before selecting outstanding seven or eight individuals to compete in the qualifiers.

Earlier on, AAM had planned to regroup last month ahead of Africa Cross Country Championship which was expected to be held in Togo this month.

Malawi National Council of Sports Acting Executive Secretary Henry Mereka said despite the suspension of all sporting activities, athletes were supposed to keep fit.

“Athletes should not lose touch. They have to keep shape failure by training at home. We are not promoting them to train in groups. Even if we are off season, athletes should keep on training,” he said.

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