On Wednesday just before 5 000m race, flamboyant middle distance runner Kefasi Chitsala did not miss an opportunity to stare into the camera to remind viewers that he was the Malawian athlete who gate-crashed into a Samba dance party at Rio Olympic Games a week ago.
But unfortunately that is just what he will be remembered for at the Games. He failed to qualify for the final round of men’s 5 000m race after settling for an overall 45th position out 50 contestants.
The 22-year-old was the last hope for the five-athlete Malawi squad but he did not perform to expectations as he crossed the finish line in 14:52.89 minutes, almost one and a half minutes behind winner Kipkemoi Paul Chelimo of the USA.
First five athletes in each of the two heats and the next five fastest individuals advanced to the final round, but such a feat proved to be a tall-order for Chitsala, who took position 19 out of 26 athletes in the first-round’s heat-two.
This means Malawi’s hopes for at least a medal are now up in smoke because other representatives athlete runner Tereza Master, archer David Areneo and swimmers Aamara Pinto and Brave Lifa also failed the test few days ago.
Master stumbled in women’s marathon where she finished on position 98 while Areneo could not go beyond round of 32.
Pinto and Lifa failed to be among the top 16 swimmers that qualified into the next round of their respective women’s and men’s 50m freestyle races.
“Things have not worked out right for us. We have to polish up our athletes and come stronger in our next international events,” John Kaputa, Malawi Olympic’s Committee (MOC) ex-officio who was with the athletes, summed up the Rio trip.
But archer Areneo said although he did not win a medal, he still smiled after he made history as the first Malawian archer at Olympic Games.