Taekwondo Association of Malawi’s (Tam) dream of participating at 2016 Olympic Games has vanished after the country’s sole representative, Yamikani Guba, failed during qualifiers held last weekend in Morocco.
After financial challenges forced Tam to drop four other athletes for the qualifiers, all hopes were pinned on Guba, a Fourth-Dan Blackbelt holder, who serves in the British Army.
However, Guba was eliminated in the very first match after he was beaten by Ivory Coast’s Firmin Dokou.
Dokou went into the fight with a favourite’s tag on his shoulder after winning the 2015 Grand Prix Championship in Russia and silver during the 2015 World Taekwondo Championship in Russia.
After the bout, Malawi Taekwondo national coach, Lovemore Masinga, said Guba put up a gallant fight, but it was unfortunate that he lost.
“It was a nice and beautiful fight to watch, but the day was not ours. The opponent was very good and he proved why he holds a lot of world accolades. We have learnt valuable lessons and we hope to do better next time,” Masinga said from Morocco.
He added that Malawian athletes need more international exposure if they are to excel in big tournaments such as the Olympic Games.
“We will strategise well for the next Games so that we should start early preparations. We have the confidence that we will make it one day, ”he said.
South Korean master, Taesung Kwon, came in the country last year to train athletes ahead of the qualifiers, but none of them was able to make it because of financial hitches.
Malawi is also set to send athletes to Olympic Games qualifiers soon as the country seeks representation during the Games that would be hosted by Brazil in July.
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