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Athletics Association of Malawi hits at Malawi Olympic Committee over athlete

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Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) has hit at Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) for not supporting budding athlete Mercy Malembo to participate in an International Association of Athletics Federation’s (Iaaf) Youth Championship in Nairobi, Kenya.

AAM wanted Malembo to feature in the Nairobi event, which took place on Saturday, and proceed to the Commonwealth Youth Games, which will get underway on Wednesday in the Bahamas. Malembo is part of Malawi’s four-member team bound for the Bahamas.

AAM had received a return air ticket from Iaaf to enable Malembo compete in the Nairobi championship.

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AAM General Secretary, Frank Chitembeya, said it was unfortunate that Malembo was denied a chance to compete in both events.

“It was possible for Malembo to travel to Kenya and then compete at the Youth Games. We asked Moc to support her with a ticket for a coach knowing that, at 17, Malembo is young and needs moral support as well as a guide. However, our proposal fell on deaf ears.

“There is no harm in a young athlete competing in two major events within in a week. Even at the championship, athletes compete in various heats before they qualify for the finals,” Chitembeya said.

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He added that Iaaf had since penalised AAM by demanding a refund of the return air ticket.

“Among others, they also want us to repay the money they have spent on booking accommodation and food for the athlete,” he said.

Moc President, Oscar Kanjala, referred The Daily Times to the leader of delegation for the Games, Dennis Kumwenda, who was not available for a comment.

However, a source within Moc stated that it was important to protect the youngster from burnout.

“We cannot expose the youngster to two international championships within a week. Besides, the Youth Games is a good event for her exposure,” said the source.

Recently, Malembo won a gold medal in 3000 metres at the Confederation of African Athletics Southern Africa Seniors’ Championship in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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