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Asimenye Simwaka carries Malawi’s hopes with double semi-final qualification

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Jappie Mhango

Athlete Asimenye Simwaka continues to carry Malawi’s hopes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where she is due to compete in the semi-finals of two events in her quest to win medals for Team Malawi.

Simwaka qualified in 200 metres (m) and 400m events alongside well-known top athletes such as Jamaican Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who won the 100m title after clocking 10:95 seconds on Wednesday.

The multitalented Simwaka, a Malawi Women’s National Football Team striker, qualified in the 200m category yesterday after clocking 23:28 to finish third in her heat behind winner Favour Ofili of Nigeria and second-placed Gambian Gina Bass.

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Ofili and Bass finished on 22:71 and 22:87, respectively.

Simwaka also finished third on Wednesday in the 400m category to book her semi-final slot.

The result marked an improvement in her personal best to 52:19 from 52.97.

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Athletics Association of Malawi General Secretary Frank Chitembeya congratulated Simwaka but advised her to remain focused.

“She is doing well and we congratulate her. It is pleasing to see her continuing to improve her records but we need to guard against putting her under undue pressure. Let her concentrate and anything is possible,” Chitembeya said.

Commonwealth Games Association of Malawi President Jappie Mhango said Simwaka needs encouragement and support to achieve greatness in the sport.

“She is a natural born runner. If well nurtured and supported, she can perform beyond this,” Mhango said.

Other Malawian runners Stern Liffa and Farooq Mponda are out of contention after failing to meet qualification standards.

Mponda run 22:61 in 200m to finish seventh in a heat of eight competitors whereas Liffa finished on position five in a heat of eight in 21:43.

Malawi first competed at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburg, Scotland, where lightweight boxer Tatu Chionga won the country’s first bronze medal.

Malawi collected two more bronze medals at the same venue in 1986 when Lyton Mphande and Solomon Kondowe finished third in their respective division contests.

Since then, Team Malawi has never won any medal at the competition.

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