Kefasi Kasteni and Cecilia Mhango on Saturday emerged winners of the National Cross Country Championship in senior men’s and women’s categories, respectively at Mzuzu golf course.
Kasteni, who has just joined Malawi Defence Force (MDF) at Cobbe Barracks in Zomba, beat 47 other contestants while Mhango, who is also an MDF soldier based at Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu, triumphed over 30 other competitors.
Kasteni finished the 10-kilometre (km) distance in 31:04:61 minutes while his runners-up Chancy Master, also a soldier based at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe, finished in 31:22:50 minutes. Ndacha Mcherenje was third after completing the race in 31:40:45 minutes.
In the women’s section, Mhango earned gold in the 10-km senior women’s race in 40:57:31 minutes with Mudana Phiri from Lilongwe, finishing second in 41:20:34 minutes. Nalise Chirwa was third in 42:10:35 minutes.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) organised the competition to select the best athletes who will represent Malawi at forthcoming international competitions such as Africa Cross Country Championship slated for March 12 in Algeria.
Kasteni and Mhango each received K30 000 as their prizes each while their runners-up got K25 000 each.
In the eight-km junior men’s category, Stafiel Chitedze from Lilongwe came first in 26:16:72 minutes followed by Austin Sukali from Blantyre who did it in 26:47:72 minutes.
In the women’s six-kilometre junior category, Moneyi Chingaipe from Lilongwe was the winner in 23:12:16 minutes followed by Allena Christopher also from Lilongwe who clocked 23:57:71 minutes.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) president Godfrey Phiri said only four athletes will be chosen for the Algeria event.
Speaking during the prize presentation ceremony, the AAM president said their initial plan was to send 10 athletes but they had to trim due to financial constraints.
“This means only the top athletes from each category will make the trip,” he said.
Principal secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Joseph Mwandidya assured AAM of continued government support. n