• Chishimba Bwalya

ZA hopeful more can qualify


So far, only Sydney Siame has qualified from athletics.

Zambia Athletics (ZA) has expressed optimism that they can qualify more athletes for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics before their commencement on July 23 this year.


Speaking in an interview with NOCZ Media on Wednesday afternoon, ZA President Elias Mpondela said his federation has been committed to ensuring that the country can qualify other track athletes alongside Sydney Siame who is the only one to have secured a ticket from athletics so far.


“All those athletes we have seen to have potential we are pushing. We a have very good and committed coach in Douglas Kalembo and our athletes are working hard too,” he said.


He revealed that ZA was also looking at the possibility of qualifying long-distance runners adding that the athletics governing body was trying to be creative to ensure that they have enough athletes to represent the country.


Mr Mpondela however called for support from stakeholders in Zambia’s sports sector if that could be achieved.


“Get involved, we must put in if we want to make a difference.”


“NOCZ is helping us and they are supportive but we hope that everyone can come in because preparing an athlete is a tripartite engagement, it’s a whole package.”


Mpondela also expressed hope that sprinter Rhoda Njobvu could be joining Siame soon on for the Games adding that she had been putting in her best during training.


“She can qualify and raise the flag, we have hope because her coach is pushing her,” he added.


Njobvu, Chintamba Hazemba, and Hellen Makumba are among a group of hopefuls that could make the final cut for Zambia’s team for the Tokyo Games.


However, Njobvu who is the closest to achieving that feat sits at 23.07s in 200m and 11.20s in 100m for her personal bests and she has to beat the time limit of 20.8 and 11.15s in both categories for her to have a chance.


But with the All-Comers Meet for Lusaka on the horizon, it may just be a matter of time before qualification is secured for Njobvu or her fellow track athletes.

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