LILONGWE--After over a month intensive training at Gloucestershire University in the UK in preparation for the ongoing 2012 London Olympic Games, a depleted team of Malawian athletes at the Games will go into real action this Friday when swimmer Joyce Tafatatha competes in heat 4 at 10am UK time, while runner Ambwene Simukonda takes on other athletes in 400m at 12 noon. On August 12 Malawis marathon runner will sweat it out in the mens marathon at 11am UK time.
Chances of Malawi clinching any medal at the Olympiad are virtually remote, considering that no Malawian athlete met the Olympic qualifying times and they are there participating on Olympic Solidarity. Nevertheless, the most important thing is that Malawi is there and, who knows, the athletes may surprise everyone by bringing home a medal, albeit that being a tall order! After all, government had pledged a cool K1 million to any athlete who brings home a medal.
Malawis only hope of a medal was swimmer Charlton Nyirenda who, unfortunately, was withdrawn for failing to meet preconditions for swimmers participating in the Games on Olympic Solidarity. Nyirenda is the only Malawian athlete to win a heat at the 2008 Games and his withdrawal after a month of training at Gloucestershire University training camp was quite unfortunate as it reduced further the number of Malawian athletes taking part in the worlds biggest sporting event.
But perhaps now eyes will be on marathon runner Tebulo and his pace-setter John Kayange, who finished on respectable second and third positions respectively at the Gloucestershire half marathon held on July 8 as part of preparations for the Olympic Games.Tebulo is said to have clocked 1:05:40 hours, while Kayange made it in 1:05:55 hours ahead of a huge group of runners from other countries.
According to Malawi team manager Jappie Mhango, the results showed that Tebulo was improving, but he said it would be cheating oneself to predict that he would perform likewise in the real heat which is a full marathon.The Games began on July 27 in London.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.