Chikondi Mwanyali, Nalicy Chirwa steals show in Mzuzu Half Marathon
By Bernard Mhone:
Budding athlete Chikondi Mwanyali and seasoned star Nalicy Chirwa made history after they emerged champions of the inaugural 21km Mzuzu Half Marathon Sunday.
They both braved sunny conditions to become first winners of the competition to deservedly pocket K1 million each.
Mwanyali, 20, competing in the men’s section, finished the distance in 1:08:04 to complete a successful week after he also won the National Cross Country last week.
Veteran Chancy Master finished as runner-up after completing the race in 1:08:10 seconds while his fellow Kamuzu Barracks athlete Macdonald Maganizo ended on third position, clocking 1:08:26.
The men’s champion attributed his victory to hard work.
“People say I am like Kenyan athletes. I usually watch Kenyan athletes and I emulate their skills. I am looking for a scholarship to improve my career,” he said.
In the ladies’ category, Mzuzu-based athlete, Chirwa, avenged her last week’s downfall when she went past athlete-of-the-moment Asimenye Simwaka to win the crown in 1:23:44 seconds.
It was perfect revenge as Simwaka won last week’s National Cross Country at the expense of Chirwa.
Ironically, Simwaka finished on second position in 1:25 while Doris Fisha finished in third in 1:25:56.
On her part, Chirwa, 23, said she prepared to outclass Simwaka.
“Simwaka might be good at short distances but not long ones. At long distance, I am the best and you have seen it. It was my target to win the championship,” Chirwa said.
Meanwhile, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) Board Chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise has pledged to continue bankrolling the competition.
“I assure the people of Mzuzu that the marathon will come again next year because we have learnt a lot from this. We plan to make it a full marathon,” Madise said.
On his part, Minister of Sports Uchizi Mkandawire said the government will continue supporting such events.
The marathon’s organising committee chairperson Peter Mumba said the event was a success. About 94 athletes participated in the half marathon. Runners-up in both categories received K750,000 each, with those on third position getting K500,000 each.