IOC-sponsored athletes have been commendable in Olympics qualification - NOCZ
National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) Secretary General Boniface Kambikambi has commended athletes on solidarity scholarship for their consistent performance that saw them qualifying for the rescheduled Olympic Games.
Five of the seven Zambian athletes that have been on International Olympic Committee’s solidarity support since 2017 have so far qualified for the Games in Tokyo since 2016.
These include sprinters Rhodah Njobvu and Sydney Siame, swimmer Tilka Paljk, judoka Steven Mung’andu and boxer Evaristo Mulenga with only the exception of Suwilanji Mpondela and Ralph Goveia.
Speaking on Friday morning, Mr Kambikambi said NOCZ was impressed with the number of athletes on IOC scholarship that had qualified adding that there was need to continue with such commitment for the country to have more athletes being supported.
“We are quite happy that they have remained consistent with their training programme and having attained the qualification is commendable,” he said.
He called on sports federations to work hard and ensure the country has a bigger number sponsored athletes for future events.
“As these potential athletes were identified through their national federations, we therefore urge the federations to continue working hard to prepare more athletes and trust that other federations will emulate them so that Zambia can have a bigger number at the forthcoming games in Paris.”
And NOCZ President Alfred Foloko has reiterated his Board’s commitment to supporting athletes in their preparations ahead of the Games in July.
Mr Foloko revealed that although the COVID-19 pandemic had affected plans to camp athletes outside the continent, NOCZ was still working to ensure they get international exposure before they leave for pre-camp on July 7.
“For athletics, we have given them the best support for local camping. We were ready to support the team for their last preparations which were the African Championships in Nigeria but they were cancelled due to the third wave.
“For boxing it has been difficult to camp them outside Africa under the current conditions but NOCZ has also given them the best support in the history of boxing camping in Zambia.
Meanwhile, sprinters Siame and Njobvu are in Bostwana for a three-day invitational meet until Sunday with Mr Foloko confirming the possibility of the boxers camping in that country before leaving for pre-camp in Japan.