Badminton, Kaushiku add silver lining for Zambia to Day 1 of Club Games
NOT exactly what was expected from Day 1 of the Commonwealth Games for Zambian athletes, but a spirited performance by the close of day ensured there was something to smile about going into the Day 2 of competitions.
Badminton, who got the ball rolling for the country at the Games, had ensured an unpleasant start with five straight losses to highly-ranked Malaysia in the morning session, but their performance against South Africa later in the day sent spectators in cheers.
At a National Exhibition Centre graced by Minister of Youth, Sports and Art Elvis Nkandu, in a men's doubles match Zambia played neighbours South Africa, duo Kalombo and Chongo Mulenga drew applause from the crowd when they got the country's first win of the day in Game Three of five.
Zambia however lost the match by 5 sets to 1.
Rugby had equally endured a nervy start with a 52-0 loss to back-to-back Olympic gold medallists Fiji, but scrum half Lawrence Kaushiku ensured not all records were taken away even in the presence of another loss to Wales.
Kaushiku's try in the 38-5 loss to the Welsh made him the first Zambian rugger ever to score at the Commonwealth Games.
In swimming, which was at Sandwell Aquatic Centre, swimmer Kumaren Naidu's 27.39 seconds' finish in the men’s 50 metres butterfly was not enough to see him proceed to the next round but it was marginally a better time than his entry time of 27.58 seconds.
Naidu's timing was a light at the end of a tunnel in which prodigy Zach Moyo had suffered an early exit in 200m men's breaststroke as he recorded 2.44.35 seconds.
Tilka Paljk also was eliminated from 50 metres breaststroke which is her specialty as she swam 34.20 seconds in a race that was won by South Africa's Lara van Niekerk.
Niekerk, 19 set a new Commonwealth Games record in a time of 29.82 that put her ahead of Olympic golden girl Tatjana Schoenmaker in second.
Meanwhile, in squash both Chisenga Zulema and Kundanji Kalengo suffered defeats in their first round matches.
Zulema succumbed 3-0 to Botswana's Katse Luengo who triumphed 11-9, 11-4 and 11-9.
Kalengo who played in the evening lost 3-1 to highly-rated Canadian Sachvie.
More action is expected on Day 2 for Zambia with Paljk and Jade Phiri expected in the waters for their 50 metres butterfly races.
Naidu and Moyo will also compete in the 100 metres breaststroke.
In rugby, Zambia will face off against a Canada side also suffered defeat to Fiji.
Badminton will close-off the day with their match against Jamaica.