Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC), which is tasked with coordinating the country’s 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games participation, seems to have successfully planted seeds of Malawi Team’s failure at the Brazil event.
With six months before the competition, MOC president, Oscar Kanjala, last week admitted that there was no coordinated training yet, let alone a clear identity of athletes earmarked for the event to run from August 5 to 21, 2016. It takes three years to produce a qualifying athlete.
“Officially, we have not received updates relating to whether athletes or teams have entered qualifying competitions yet, so it’s difficult for us as Moc to make a statement on the issue. We advised the affiliates to participate in competitions to enable them prepare well if they qualified for the games,” Kanjala explained.
Moc has earmarked seven sporting disciplines including, swimming, athletics, taekwondo, weightlifting, archery for the Rio Games. However, taekwondo is now out of the equation after Yamikani Guba failed during an Olympic qualifying tournament in Morocco last week.
So far, none of Malawi athletes have qualified for the event, meaning that as usual— participation will be on solidarity, which is based on quotas allocated to each country.
No Malawian athlete has ever qualified for the Olympics.
Despite Malawi embracing Podium Performance Programme— aimed at achieving top-class performance on the international stage, it is business as usual for MOC and government.
Analysts fear that the country’s failure to participate in All-Africa Games in Congo Brazaville last year would affect Malawi athletes’ performance in Brazil. Malawi failed to send athletes to the games due to reported outstanding affiliation fees.
The All-Africa Games are used as a yard stick to gauge the performance of athletes before Olympics, Acquatic Association of Malawi (Mau) president, Dean Pinto, admitted.
“The big struggle is to make the qualifying time. Our swimmer, Joyce Tafatatha, is close, two seconds away from making it. It is difficult qualifying for Olympics if you cannot participate in regional and continental events such as the All-Africa Games,” Pinto noted.
For the past Olympic Games, Malawi has been faring poorly due to ill preparations.
However, Minister of Sports and Culture, Grace Chiumia, last week insisted the country’s preparations are on track.
“As a country, we are very much prepared and ready for the event
because some of the athletes, who will compete at the Games, have been undergoing intensive training at the High Performance Centre for some years now,” Chiumia claimed.
Athletics Association of Malawi general secretary, Frank Chitembeya, hinted that they might dispatch to Brazil two athletes on solidarity.
“But we will be assembling 10 athletes to compete in the Iaaf Series in Morocco and Senegal to compete in the qualifying games. There is also a possibility that we can send athletes to an organised event for three countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. We are optimistic of producing qualifying athletes,” Chitembeya explained.
However, all appears promising for Weightlifting and Body Building Association of Malawi, which has short-listed six athletes–Allan Mphote, Buto Mota, Peter Kalitsiro, Charles Mokoka, Stella Kamanga and John Phiri—for the Olympics.
However, Malawi Boxing Association is yet to decide just like the case with Cycling Association of Malawi which usually dispatches athletes to such competitions. Amateur boxers have been inactive for over two years
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