Tilka and Kumaren get Olympics universality nods
Updated: Jun 9, 2021
Zambian swimmers Tilka Paljk and Kumaren Naidu have become the latest athletes that will represent the country at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
The development comes after the two swimmers were selected on a universality basis based on their performance rankings.
This brings the total number of athletes that will be representing the country to 27, including the women's football team.
Zambia Swimming Union (ZASU) who confirmed the development has expressed the belief that the athletes have what it takes to compete at the Games and will support them to ensure they represent the country well.
“The athletes are experienced, they can compete at the highest stage,” ZaSU president Guy Phiri said in a phone interview, “we have faith in them and they are dedicated."
“Olympics are big events and it’s important that athletes compete there and we will support them.”
He described the participation of Paljk and Naidu as a building block for other athletes.
This will be the South African-based duo's first appearance at the Olympics despite having made appearances at both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games previously.
Although it was long expected that the athletes would be selected, their participation was only confirmed recently.
Paljk, a specialist in the 50 metres breaststroke will compete in the 50m freestyle instead after her event was omitted from Olympics categories this time around, while Naidu will participate in 100m breaststroke.
Phiri has expressed confidence in the duo’s abilities adding that they have experience to represent the country well at the Games.
Paljk who broke the news on her Facebook page on Wednesday evening said it was a dream come her to be at the Olympics in July.
“I don’t think I can still believe that this is really happening, I have trained my whole life for this moment to represent my country at the most prestigious event in the world.”
The 24-year-old will be looking to replicate her African Games performance in August of 2019 where she won a bronze medal.