The Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has contracted the High Performance Centre (HPC) at the College of Medicine Sports Complex to conduct trials for athletes to be earmarked for Under-20 Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Games scheduled for Angola next year.
The HPC is inviting Under-17 athletes for next week’s trials in lawn tennis, judo and athletics in 800 metres, 1 500 metres and 8 000 metres. Paralympic athletes will also be part of the Podium Performance Programme, but their selection depends on their association’s classification.
The complex’s sports officer Cuthrew Chimimba on Tuesday said so far Matamando Sanga, Tamanda Banda, Bright Matumula, Stephen Mwiza and Robin Banda have approached the HPC to prepare them for the trials.
Coaches for the selected disciplines will also be hired to be part of the training that will eventually take place at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) High Performance Centre.
Chimimba said they hope to eventually select 30 athletes; two females and males each in the sports codes save for judo which will have six.
Experts from the UP are expected to visit Malawi during the athletes’ selection process. Sanga said he was determined to make his grade in shot put as he is not much into sports disciplines that involve running.
Twelve schools in Blantyre are expected to contribute the athletes, Chimimba said, adding that they are happy that the council involved them to fine-tune the athletes and that the facility’s staff will be among those to travel to UP for the training alongside the athletes.
The trials and actual pre-training programme will involve nutrition education and physiology, among others. Selected staff and athletes are expected to travel to South Africa for the training four times until 2016 with each visit running two weeks.
Council of Ministers for the African Union Region Five, to which Malawi belongs, agreed in 2013 to adopt a Podium Performance Programme designed to offer block cohesion preparations, aimed at winning medals at the 2016 Olympic Games among other major sports events. The region’s games will run from December 2 to 17 2016 in Angola.
Sports Council’s executive secretary George Jana is the AUSC vice-chairperson and he told The Nation that they had deliberately opted to train athletes, lawn tennis players and those for Judo since this is an inaugural programme.
“This project is available in all countries of the region and the idea is to try and develop podium athletes and coaches on long -term basis. We do not seem to be getting enough medals in major championships. We chose the three disciplines as they are cheaper [since Angola is expensive] and easier to manage. For a start, you don’t have to start too big,” Jana said.
Other members of the region are Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. The UP is involved as the overall in charge of all programmes in the region whereas the Sports Complex will play a supporting role.