Malawi short distance runner Stain Lifa has won the 200-metre (m) men’s B category race at the Gaborone International Meet in Botswana, a feat that could earn him automatic qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other international competitions.
Previously, local athletes in various sports disciplines have failed to go past the second-round of Olympics qualifiers, which is the penultimate round, prompting the country’s flag-carriers to participate in the prestigious global events on solidarity.
But at the Botswana event on Saturday, Lifa crossed the finish line in 21.75 seconds to be just five milliseconds away from the B-standard of automatic qualification. The contest attracted contestants from 15 African countries and is certified by the world athletics governing body IAAF as a championship that helps athletes to qualify for high-profile competitions.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) general secretary Frank Chitembeya yesterday said Lifa will wait for the world athletics governing body IAAF’s determination.
“The B-standard qualification time is 2.70 seconds. However, Lifa’s results have been sent to the IAAF for consideration because they are too close to the required time,” he said.
On his part, Lifa said he is happy to have achieved the feat.
“I am lost for words to describe my happiness at the result. However, I just keep my fingers crossed that the IAAF will consider my record,” said the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) student.
Lifa made a name in athletics in July last year when he won the National Open Track and Field Championship in the 200m category on his first appearance in a national event.