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Stern Liffa, Asimenye Simwaka keep Olympic dream alive

Qualify for CAA senior championship

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Malawi’s quest for an automatic slot at next year’s Tokyo Olympics was kept alive after two budding athletes Stern Liffa and Asimenye Simwaka qualified for the 22nd Senior Africa Championships slated for June 1 to 5 in Algiers, Algeria.

This is the first time for Malawi to qualify for the senior championships having been sending athletes on solidarity.

The two were part of the five-member the All-Comers Track and Field event at Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, over the weekend. squad that competed at

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On Saturday, Liffa underlined his growing reputation when he yet again broke his 100m record for the third successive time reducing it to 10:36 from 10:38 to win a bronze medal.

The Malawi University of Science and Technology student was unable to compete in the 200m event yesterday. He withdrew after pulling his muscles.

On the same day Simwaka, who is also a Malawi Women’s National Football Team player, finished fourth in 200m and in the process reduced her time to 23:91 from 24:19 to qualify for the African Championships.

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The following day, Simwaka won a bronze medal in 400m after clocking 52:59 whereas compatriot Sunganani Namakonje came fourth in the same event posting 59:65.

On Saturday, Namakonje, competing in 800m, finished seventh after clocking 2:38:44.

In other events on the opening day, Mercy Malembo claimed bronze in 1,500m, having improved her record from 5.000.00 to 4.56.24.

Allan Chirwa [not the musician] competing in 800m finished on sixth position after posting 1.57.77.

Meanwhile, Simwaka, said she was pleased with her performance.

“I will work hard to impress in Algeria to qualify for the Olympics. We need all the support to qualify for the Olympics. This is just the beginning,” she said.

The squad’s coach Pachisi Nyasulu said Malawi’s performance was encouraging.

“Overall Malawi has performed very well. Three of our five athletes got bronze medals and they have also reduced their time. The other guys [Allan and Sunganani], despite joining us late in camp, have also done well. They now have times which they can be looking on to improve,” he said.

Athletics Association of Malawi President Godfrey Phiri saluted the squad for impressive performance.

He also hailed Malawi Olympic Committee for supporting the five.

Meanwhile, Moc President Jappie Mhango has said the five will also be sent to Botswana prior to the African Championships.

“We will keep all of them in camp because they have potential to qualify. They have done well; qualifying for the continental championship is no mean achievement,” he said.

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