Two Malawian athletes have failed to travel to Manchester, United Kingdom to compete at the World Taekwondo Championship after failing to secure visas.
They are Vester Banda and Joseph Phiri Junior.
National team coach Lovemore Masinga also failed to secure the travel documents for the tournament that started yesterday and will run until May 19.
The development, confirmed by the coach, reduces Malawi’s chances of winning medals as only one athlete UK-based Yamikani Guba will represent the country.
In an interview yesterday, coach Masinga described their failure as a missed opportunity for the athletes to compete on a global stage.
“We already registered and confirmed our availability with the organisers. It is heartbreaking that we did not secure the visas,” he said.
The athletes were expected to fly out on Monday and arrive just in time for the start of the competition.
Meanwhile, the coach has put his hopes on Guba, believing that he will represent Malawi better.
“He is a Malawian, but working with the British Army. He is exposed to high tech training equipment and expertise. We are optimistic that he will be competitive,” he said.
Guba, who will compete in the heavyweight category, expressed disappointment that his compatriots will not be part of the tournament.
“I know the national coach has done all he could to make it happen for the team but unfortunately, visa issues are beyond his control,” he said.
Guba, however, said he was hopeful of doing well at the competition that will attract athletes worldwide.
“I will give 100 percent as usual. I feel it in my heart that I will make it to the podium,” he said.