• Chishimba Bwalya

Mung'andu's Olympics participation confirmed


JUDOKA Steven Mung’andu’s participation at the Tokyo Olympic Games next month has been confirmed by International Judo Federation (IJF).


Although it was highly expected that Mung’andu would be at the games based on his top ranking in Africa, IJF has just announced his full participation as a qualified judoka.


In a statement addressed to National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) President Alfred Foloko on Monday, June 21 by IJF, Mung’andu qualified through the continental quarter allocation system.


“It is our pleasure to inform you that Steven Mung’andu has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Judo Competition,” read the statement.


Mung’andu who is ranked fourth on the continent in 66kg is one of three athletes in his category that have been picked.


Others include Mozambique’s Kevin Loforte and Ismael Alhassane.


He is among 29 judokas from 24 African countries that will be at the Olympics.


Reacting to the development, Mung’andu expressed his excitement whilst adding that his aim for now would be to win a medal in Tokyo.


“I’m very happy, people should expect a good performance from me in Tokyo,” he said.

“A medal is possible because of the good experience I have had in France.


Mung’andu’s coach Lipimile Moola is confident that the athlete is ready to compete at the Olympics because of the fighting experience he has undergone in the last two years he has been in France under the Olympic Solidarity programme.


“Steven has prepared very well and the progression has been seen. He has fought all the quality athletes and even though he has lost some, he has not lost like an underdog.


“It’s just a case of being penalised and those are the mistakes we need to work on and be ready for the Olympics.”


Moola further added that unlike at the 2016 games in Brazil where his previous athlete Mathews Punza managed to go past the first round, he was targeting to push Mung’andu as far as the medal brackets this time around in a bid to enhance the chances of collecting a medal.


“Punza shook the world in 2016 but that was not enough; We want Steven to go as far as the medal brackets,” he said.


Punza, then ranked 118 in the world, knocked out Israel’s Golan Pollack in the second round of the men’s 66kg match. Pollack who was ranked seventh in the world was seen as favourite for a medal at the games