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Team Malawi stuck with 3 bronze Commonwealth medals

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Jappie Mhango

Team Malawi’s drought for a Commonwealth Games medal will extend to 40 years from 36 following the team’s poor performance at the just ended 2022 Birmingham Games in England.

Stakeholders have blamed Team Malawi’s failure on poor preparations and lack of sound policies as the country last won medals in 1986 at the Games that were held in Edinburg, Scotland.

Analyst George Kaudza- Masina said expecting a medal from the Commonwealth Games was a wish which was impossible to achieve.

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“Nevertheless, the exploits of [Asimenye] Simwaka demonstrate that Malawi has capable athletes who can make the grade at such competitions only that support has not been forthcoming. From the look of things, we did not prepare our athletes well for such a big state. We, as a country, are always comfortable with going and attending in solidarity without a clear agenda,” he said.

Masina called for early preparations if the country is to end the Commonwealth Games’ medal drought.

“We have four more years to prepare and prepare well. The unfortunate part is that we have always been taking a laissez-faire approach when it comes to Commonwealth and Olympic Games, where seriousness is shown with months to go before the Games.

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“If you look at countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and the like, their team for the next games is already in place; athletes are being groomed for future Games. For netball, four years is enough to groom a team for the future as most of our netballers have now reached their prime and those looking fresh and strong now will, in four years, be irrelevant. As such, let preparations start in earnest if we have to go and compete for medals and break the medal drought curse,” he said.

Sports and Youth Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda echoed the remarks.

“It is a sign that we have a huge gap as far as preparations are concerned. Apart from participating in these global tournaments, we do not have our own national competitions and platforms that will help sustain good performance and give athletes exposure,” he said.

Chimwendo Banda said the government is, through the Malawi National Council of Sports, reinvigorating sports through Malawi schools sports associations.

However, Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) President Jappie Mhango said Team Malawi was heading in the right direction and that, soon, the team would be on course to winning medals.

“Success does not come overnight; one has to work really hard and that is exactly what we are doing. Government, council and Moc are doing everything possible to ensure that we produce a crop of athletes ready to win medals and that process is underway.

“The performance of Asimenye should begin to give us hope that, soon, we shall get a medal at the global events. Zambia has just done it and we shall do the same. If what the government is, through the line ministry, planning to do gets implemented, the country should rest assured of a medal soon,” he said.

Team Malawi featured in athletics, boxing, judo, netball and swimming.

However, Simwaka qualified for the 400m women’s final and finished sixth in a heat of eight.

This is the first time for a Malawian athlete to reach and go beyond the quarterfinals.

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