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Southern Africa Cross-Country competition

Six countries have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming Southern Africa Cross-Country which Malawi will host on February 21 and 22 in Zomba.

Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) president, Godfrey Phiri, said eight countries were yet to confirm their participation in the race that will attract over 200 athletes from the region.

“We have given them up to (today) Friday to confirm,” Phiri said.

“If they all confirm we will have a good budget. [This is better] than having problems with some who come in large numbers.”

“We did ask all the countries to give us the numbers of their teams.”

Meanwhile, Malawi athletes are still training in their respective regions in preparation for the competition.

“We just told the regional committees to keep on having non residential training for their athletes,” Phiri explained.

“We want to first finish the logistics for the international athletes and their teams and then we will look into the local.”

Asked if this would not affect the performance of the local athletes, Phiri said this was not a cause for alarm.

“But we will make them train for three weeks,” he said. “This is enough for our team.”

“We will assemble a very good team and I know it will not let us down.”

Meanwhile, national coach Francis Munthali said the preparations at regional level were progressing well.

Cross-country is an event in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain.

The course, typically may include surfaces of grass, and earth, passing through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road.

It is both an individual and a team sport; runners are judged on individual times and teams by a points-scoring method.

Both men and women of all ages compete in cross country, which usually takes place during autumn and winter, and can include weather conditions of rain, sleet, snow or hail, and a wide range of temperatures.

Men participate in eight-kilometre (juniors) and 12-kilometre (seniors) while ladies participate in eight-kilometre (seniors) and six-kilometre (juniors).

Malawi hosted the same event in 2007 at Zomba Golf Course.

Initially, Seychelles was supposed to host the event but pulled out due to political reasons.

AAM needs about K22 million from Malawi National Council of Sports to host the event.

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