Sports Council has stepped in to weigh the opportunity cost of backing the Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) bit to host the abandoned 2014 Southern Africa Cross-Country. The biggest challenge is sourcing K25 million ($50 000) for the event.
With Seychelles withdrawing from hosting the event as a result of political reasons, it means if AAM fails to come to the rescue some 280 athletes from 14 Southern Africa countries, including Malawi, will be denied an opportunity to stake their qualification claim for the 2015 World Cross-Country in China.
After Seychelles’ withdrawal last month, the Southern Africa Confederation of African Athletics (CAA SR) approached AAM to bail it out.
“In consideration of this situation, Sports Council feels compelled to try and save the situation. With the level and standard of athletics facilities in the country, it is only the cross-country and marathons that Malawi can host. Thus on our part, we would be seen to be part of and to contribute to the development of athletics in the Southern Africa,” said Jana.
However, Jana stressed that no decision has been made yet on the competition as the council is investigating “what needs to be done and what needs to be had to host the competition after which we will cost these demands and then identify if we would be able from our resources and the private sector, we could actually host the competition.”
The AAM president had projected that they need K12 million (about $24 000) to host the event, but after meeting Sports Council, the budget was revised to K25 million (about $50 000). The CAA SR provides a host country $3 000 as administration fee.
In the absence of running tracks, deputy national athletics coach John Mwathiwa recently said such a cross-country is the only international event AAM can host.
Malawi held a similar championship at Zomba golf course in 2007. Malawi has athletes such as Chancy Master, Kefasi Kasten and Grevazio Mpani who can win medals.
The race involves individual athletes and teams competing in 12 kilometres and eight kilometres for senior and junior men with senior women racing in eight kilometres and six kilometres for junior women.
CAA SR president Moses Bantsi confirmed the offer to Malawi in a letter last month.