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  • Writer's pictureChishimba Bwalya

You can deliver medals – Catherine Phiri tells Olympic bound athletes

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

PHIRI addressing a young audience at the Inclusive Sport Festival in October at National Heroes Stadium. Photo courtesy of; NOCZ Media

Former World Boxing Council Bantamweight champion Catherine Phiri is confident that athletes who have qualified for the Olympics Games so far have what it takes to deliver medals for Zambia.

The boxer who was speaking after the Inclusive Sport Festival where was invited as a guest athlete at National Heroes Stadium said all the athletes could deliver medals next year in Tokyo as long as they believed in themselves and not be intimidated.

“I believe in all of them, looking at the work they put, if they can believe in themselves and work as a team then they will rip medals. What is important is belief, it does not matter where you are going at that moment, it’s about the work they will do.” Phiri said.

Having fought at the big stage and in front of large crowds, the boxer knows all too well what it takes to win and used that to advise athletes ahead of next year’s games.

“My advise, not only to boxers but all sportsmen and women is to believe in themselves and to be determined. Not to be defeated just by looks. Believe in yourselves, that’s the spirit that must go with you.”

"I believe in all of them, looking at the work they put, if they can believe in themselves and work as a team then they will rip medals." - Phiri

With qualification of the women's national football team, Zambia is expected to have one of its largest delegation. Photo courtesy of: FIFA

The Tokyo Olympics will see Zambia send one of its largest delegation at the games since 1988. This will be due to the qualification of the women’s football team- a first for the country.

Apart from swimmer Ralph Goveia who is set to make his return at the games having been there in 2016, Zambia is set to compete with debutants in swimmer Tilka Paljk, sprinter Sydney Siame, the trio of boxers in Stephen Zimba, Evaristo Mulenga, and Patrick Chinyemba as well as the women’s soccer team.

Uniquely though for football, while it will be the first time that Zambian women’s football will be making an appearance, striker Rachel Nachula is not new to the event having been there in 2008 as a sprinter at the Beijing summer games.

So it will be another return for her after 12 years.

SIAME was the first athlete to qualify for Zambia after winning the 200m final at the All Africa Games in 2019.

For the women’s football team, they have a high profile friendly coming up on November 28 against Chile in the Chilean capital Santiago.

This will come on the backdrop of their appearance at the just ended COSAFA Women’s championship where they reached the semi-finals missing out on a final spot against Botswana in South Africa.

In addition to those that have already qualified, the country’s sports fraternity is also on the lookout for the likes of Rhoda Njobvu who could qualify in the 200 metres category due to the fact that she is only 0.05 seconds away from booking her ticket.

Judoka Steven Mung’andu also looks promising having pushed his qualification chances at the just ended Dakar Championship in Senegal over the weekend where he won a silver medal.

A better performance in his forthcoming appearance at the African senior Championship in Madagascar could see him qualify.


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