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LTAM in athletes assessment exercise

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By Bernard Mhone:

Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (LTAM) has embarked on an exercise to assess its athletes’ fitness levels after suspension of competitions in March.

The suspension was in compliance with the government’s declaration of a state of disaster aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus.

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The association’s Technical Director, Owen Mfune, said after the government suspended all sporting activities in April due to the pandemic, they advised their athletes to embark on training at home to maintain their fitness levels.

Mfune said the initiative is targeting 20 athletes across the country.

“We have athletes in all major centres of the country. We also have four upcoming players and several others who are eligible for under-12, 14, 16 and 18 categories,” he said.

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Mfune said they started with Central Region athletes in Lilongwe on Wednesday and will be with Eastern Region players today in Zomba.

The exercise continues Friday with Southern Region players in Blantyre before winding up with Mzuzu on Sunday for Northern Region athletes.

Mfune said the assessment will be done in two shifts per day with ten athletes each in accordance with the new Covid-19 precautionary measures which the government has gazetted.

“We appreciate the need to restrict gatherings to not more than ten people at a time. We have realised that our neighboring countries have started some activities as we go into a partial lockdown. What is worrisome is that our athletes are just idling.

“Therefore, to match international standards, we have come up with this activity to ensure that our players in good shape. We just want to know if we are matching fitness levels attained by our rivals. We have also engaged health personnel to sensitise them on how best to continue training at home while practising Covid-19 precautionary measures,” Mfune said.

He added that they will also donate personal protective equipment to the athletes.

One of the game’s local coaches, Henry Mtuta, said the assessment will enable them to identify hardworking and dedicated players.

“It is sad that some players have lost touch since the suspension of games. Therefore, the exercise is a good development which will help us quite a lot. Through this exercise, we will know which players are training seriously in their respective homes. Their physical fitness will tell us whether they were just idling or not,” Mtuta said.

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