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Forget about medals—athletes admit

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With 12 days to go before the start of 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia, some athletes for Team Malawi have admitted that expecting them to win medals at the event is building castles in the air.

Four out of the eight Commonwealth-bound athletes said they did not prepare thoroughly for them to win medals.

The four, who did not want to be mentioned for fear of repercussions, accused Athletics Association of Malawi’s (AAM) top brass of lying that the athletes underwent enough training.

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“This is the only camp where we have been called together. We will prepare for two weeks, which is not enough, for such big games. We were promised regular camp training but nothing happened. We were also promised several international tournaments as a warm up to the Commonwealth Games, but that did not happen,” said one of the athletes.

Another athlete added: “You can ask each one of us if coaches were, at all, monitoring our training. In most cases, it was personal training and we rarely met as a team. So, to except a medal from us will be unrealistic.”

Another athlete said they were going to the event just to better their personal best times and national records.

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AAM General Secretary, Frank Chitembeya, sympathised with the athletes.

“It is true that we did not hold camps as we promised them but this is due to lack of commitment from the government. Not long ago, the government broke its promise that they would fund our entire team of athletes for them to participate in a continental championship in Algeria. Realistically, we can only hope for the athletes to improve their personal records and break national records,” he said.

Director of Sports Jameson Ndalama, refused to comment.

This year under the ‘Bring back a medal campaign,’ Malawi will be represented by two sport codes— netball and athletics—following the omission of the others that did not qualify.

In athletics, AAM identified Kefasi Kasiteni, Francis Khanje, Golden Gunde, Chancy Master, Grevazio Mpani, Dalitso Gunde, Benedict Makumba and Ndacha Mcherenje as its ambassadors. The Queens will represent Malawi netball.

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