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Moses Mkondowe of athletics

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SOMETIMES things do not go the way people planned. This is why some stories are very difficult to understand especially when you consider where one starts and eventually ends a career. Athletics Coach, Moses Mkondowe, is among those whose career did not take the expected course.

Growing up, Mkondowe was a promising footballer in primary and secondary school. However, he ended up being a good athlete before graduating into a top coach for athletes in the country.

Despite being born in family of athletics parents, Mkondowe never had a chance to watch his father in action.

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This was so because his father died when Mkondowe was too young. Nonetheless, Mkondowe had heard enough stories about his father’s exploits in the game.

Still, Mkondowe opted for a career in football, playing as a winger in primary and secondary schools. However, all that changed for the Blantyre man after he competed in an athletics competition while at Phwezi in Rumphi District.

“I was a good runner, but I never thought that I would end up in athletics one day. I used to play football together with Silver Strikers Team Manager, Francis Songo “One day, there was a competition at Mzuzu Upper Stadium and my school needed to send some representatives. I joined them and I was among those that did well at regional level,” Mkondowe recalls.

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“I was eventually selected to compete at national level where I also did well. Still more, that did not make me dump football. However, all that changed when I relocated to Blantyre.” While in the Commercial City, Mkondowe tried to pursue a career in football, but he claims that he was frustrated.

The light-skinned man soon reverted to athletics. He eventually started training with Sobo Athletics Club. The club opened a chance for him to attend coaching courses alongside Ruth Mzengo and her husband Ephraim. “Being a coach-athlete was not easy, but it helped open up some opportunities that have made me a good coach,” he explained.

As an athlete, the 48-yearold represented Malawi in various cross- country championships. He also starred in 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres races. Mkondowe maintained his good record in competitions in two races held in South Africa in 2009. The same year, the athlete travelled to Japan for yet another competition then before flying to Nigeria in 2003.

“A coach is very important in athletics. People think that just because they run fast then they are good athletes. But that is not the case. This sport requires skills acquired through special training,” he observed.

“When recommending athletes for a competition, we consider things such as body posture, how they breathe and even body movements.” Recently, the coach led Malawi’s athletics team to the World Cross-Country championship held in Uganda. The athletes, who travelled by road, finished on team position 11 out of 55 countries (teams).

Malawi’s best athlete in the event was Kefasi Kasiteni who finished on position 55 out of 132 runners. Mkondowe said he was happy with how the athletes performed considering the mode of transport they used to reach Kampala. “It was horrible as some players reached the destination with swollen legs, but that did not discourage them. As a coach, it was my task to work with the athletes and ensure that they perform well,” he noted.

One of the founders of Tauka Athletics Club in Blantyre, Mkondowe is a family man. Apart from the athletics coaching job, he is a football fan who follow the game religious. He wishes to advance his coaching career and assist in the development of the sport by training more athletes who are willing to make it big.

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