The Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) has expressed satisfaction with the performance of local athletes KefasKasteni Chitsala and Cecelia Mhango at the African Cross-Country Championship in Algiers, Algeria on Saturday.
In the 10-kilometre (km) men’s race, Kasteni finished 11th in 31:35 minutes—48 seconds behind the eventual winner Alfred Barkach from Kenya. The race drew 43 participants
On the other hand, Mhango finished 25th out of 27 participants in the women’s 10km race. She clocked 42:30—seven minutes behind winner CelliphineChespol also from Kenya.
There were five categories, including junior men and women categories plus combined men/women categories, but due to financial limitations, Malawi was only represented in two categories.
AAM general secretary (GS) Frank Chitembeya said: “They did considerably well against the best from Africa. The participation itself is a huge boost ahead of the Commonwealth Games [for Kasteni] which take place next month in Gold Coast, Australia.”
He said the African Cross-Country Championship takes place every two years to prepare African athletes for major intercontinental competitions.
Prior to the tournament, Kasteni had vowed to perform well and raise the Malawi flag.
“I am going to Algeria to represent my country and will work hard not to disappoint. I hope I can beat my personal best,” he had said.
Asked if Kasteni had beaten his personal best record, Chitembeya said he was yet to compare past records.
“All I can say is that it is very difficult to judge on cross country because of the rough terrain that is used,” said the AAM GS.