Director of sports in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Jameson Ndalama has faulted FAM, NAM and some sports associations for their absence during the Malawi anti doping rules launch on Saturday.
During the ceremony at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) Ndalama, who was the guest of honour, said it was disappointing to note that major disciplines that are involved in anti-doping issues shunned the event.
He said: “It is really disappointing that a good number of associations, especially those that oversee major team sports disciplines such as FAM and NAM, are not present.
“It is sad to note that most officials of such bodies rush to attend events that hardly concern them, but ignore very important functions like this one despite having many officials that sit idle in their offices. Now, after this endorsement, how will they know and embrace these new anti doping rules?”
Malawi Anti-Doping Organisation (Mado), headed by former Football Association of Malawi (FAM) first vice-president James Mwenda, organised the event in partnership with Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) to enlighten sports bodies on the localised regulations that have come into force after the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) told countries to mould doping control rules in accordance with own local environment.
Nevertheless, less than 10 associations out of 43 attended the launch. Associations in attendance included basketball, lawn tennis, table tennis, cycling, golf and taekwondo.
But FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda yesterday said his body did not receive an invitation for the event.
“It is hard to attend an event without being invited. Had we been invited, it could have been a reasonable point to say we had not done well. I am hearing from you that there was such a function,” he said.
Gunda said it was surprising because only last week, they were communicating with Mado on their submission regarding anti-doping rules in the country, but were not told anything about the endorsement ceremony.
“For sure, we could not choose not to attend something that concerns us. It is unfortunate that we were not informed about the event and we are now being blamed for not attending,” he said.
But Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu said they received the invitation, but failed to attend due to other commitments.
She said: “We apologise for failing to send a representative. The apology comes because I had other commitments already and the [NAM] president [Khungekile Matiya] was supposed to attend but had an emergency at an 11th hour. We sincerely regret any inconveniences caused,” she said.
Mado general secretary Leonard Sharra said they left the task of inviting association to MNCS sports development manager Ruth Mzengo, who said the invitations were duly sent to the sports bodies.
“We sent invitations to all the sports bodies through e-mail and we are surprised that some say they did not receive,” she said.