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Sports perspective: Excuse us of feeble athletes

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For the years that I have been in this noble profession called journalism, I have been anticipating that one day a miracle would happen and one of our athletes would win gold at the Olympic Games.

But it is sad that years have passed and I am about to celebrate my silver jubilee without witnessing any athlete winning gold, let alone silver or bronze at such a big stage.

I was not surprised to read in one of the local newspapers that this country, which others call Malawi, when some of us call it home, has once again failed to produce a single athlete to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil in July despite boasting a population of 17 million people.

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Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) announced that they have trimmed the number of participants to the prestigious competition to 11 from 26. The 11 have come from sporting disciplines such as taekwondo, weightlifting, judo and lawn tennis.

MOC Administration Manager, Naomi Chinatu, indicated that they were waiting for the government to approve funding for the Brazil trip and yet this is the government that is stone-broke and cannot provide its people with basic needs.

I have repeatedly said it is a waste of time and resources for government to spend money on talentless people masquerading as athletes to travel to a competition which they will be participating on solidarity. This is totally unacceptable and a waste of resources. This madness must stop. Okay?

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Instead of bringing medals all what these people bring back home is embarrassment. As a nation, we are fed up with making headlines for wrong reasons at such a big stage.

It is high time MOC and government came up with a clear strategic plan to develop our feeble athletes into a force to reckon with.

Others may argue that there is need to give our half-baked athletes exposure by sending them to such high-profile competitions, but they forget that, such money can best be utilised if invested in development projects.

This is a country which has not taken sports seriously and most of its people believe in mediocrity.

Let them be told that wounds are still festering after two of our pampered boxers shocked the whole nation after they were mercilessly pummeled in the first round of their 12-round title contest in Lilongwe just a fortnight ago.

Our Madam Sports Minister, Grace Chiumia, was there, foreign dignitaries were there, girl-friends, sister in-laws, brother in-laws and television cameras were also there. They all witnessed the shame that goes with poor preparations in sports.

Given the significance of the Rio competition, I would advise government to withhold the funds and divert it to other important projects.

We are fed up with this embarrassment.

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