Lumeka Katundu's chances of qualifying for Olympics and her relationship with Rhoda Njobvu
SATURDAY’s All Comers Meet at National Heroes Stadium could be another opportunity for Zambia to see another athlete qualifying for the Olympic Games.
There has already been Rhoda Njobvu, Sydney Siame, boxing trio Stephen Zimba, Evaristo Mulenga and Patrick Chinyemba and the Zambia women’s football team who have qualified so far while swimmer Tilka Paljk will go as universality.
But there is a hopeful too in Lumeka Katundu to be next in line.
Though little known as compared to some of her peers in the sport, the Zambia Correctional Service Athletics (ZSCA) sprinter has thus far shown that she too has what it takes to get to the top and qualify.
Three weeks ago at the All Comers Meet when Njobvu qualifed, it was Katundu that came out second both in 100 and 200metres with 11.46 and 23.19 seconds respectively.
Although the times are a millisecond far from the standard Olympic qualifying times of 11.15 and 22.80 seconds, they do raise hope for belief that events like the one coming this Saturday could draw Katundu closer what is possibly the 'promised land' for every athlete world over; the Olympic Games.
But key to Katundu's qualification and competing prowess is and has been her on track competitive and healthy rivalry with Njobvu who she describes as her 'motivation'.
“She is my training partner, she really motivates me a lot, her qualification gave me motivation,” she told the press at a briefing organised by Zambia Athletics at National Heroes Stadium on Thursday morning.
“We are given the same training programme, we do the same things, so her coming to 200m is a big motivation for me, knowing fully well it’s not going to be an easy competition because we are competing so highly together. We are not running to come out for competition, we are running against time,” she said.
If all goes her way, she could be the third athlete to qualify from athletics for the country.
And what better place to do that than at the the ZA-organised All Comers Meet which has attracted 13 countries, with Denmark being one of them?
Saturday is definitely a big day for her.
Meanwhile ZA believes the event will be a huge opportunity for local athletes to get some international competition.
Speaking during the same briefing, ZA president Elias Mpondela said the event was a chance for athletes to prepare themselves adequately against some of the top international athletes that will be participating ahead of the Games.
“We believe that this competition that has come through will give them a test of what to expect from Tokyo Games,” he said.
Among the key participants is Tarzan Kamanga, a junior champion in 100m and 200 from Denmark hoping to qualify for the Games as well as Ng'uni Makusha from Zimbabwe.