Barely a week after Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) called 21 athletes into camp at OlymAfrica Sports Development Centre in Lilongwe, some athletes have complained of poor conditions.
The situation has forced three of the country’s top athletes Kefasi Kasiteni, Mphatso Nandolo and Grevazio Mpani to leave the camp after AAM’s failure to address their concerns.
The camping is in preparation for international events, in particular the 2020 Olympic Games.
In an interview on Tuesday, Kasiteni said they were being served with inadequate and sub-standard meals and meagre allowances.
“I have left camp because the conditions were bad. We were fed on poor quality food such as two small portions of nsima served with dried usipa, beans and vegetables for main meal and a cup of tea with two slices of bread for breakfast.
“Sometimes they could serve one boiled egg with nsima and vegetables which is not a proper dish for an athlete preparing for a competition,” he said.
The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Best Athlete of the Year said the athletics body was not prepared for the camping.
On his part, Mpani said: “I have been in many camps before, but this one was awful, the conditions were pathetic.. An athlete needs good food during preparations because we lose a lot of energy.”
While Nandolo said: “I have left camp because we were not properly treated, especially in terms of food and the environment.”
In an interview on Tuesday, AAM general secretary Frank Chitembeya confirmed that the three had left camp, but declined to comment on the allegations of poor food.
“How do they [athletes] describe good food? If they have left it is a case of indiscipline and the door is closed. They won’t be accommodated again. It doesn’t matter how good they are,” he said.
On allowances, Chitembeya said that K5 000 was enough for each athlete for a week considering that the association is struggling financially.
“And, have you journalists ever assisted us or lobbied for sponsorship [on our behalf] from government?” he said before cutting the line.
Malawi National Council of Sports executive secretary George Jana declined to comment, saying they are not aware of the camp.