The Malawi Paralympics team has yet again been hit by serious financial challenges that have forced them to shift their trip to London for the International Paralympics Games from last weekend to Tuesday.
It has transpired that the money they were allocated by the London Games organisers for their return air tickets through local banks, was heavily affected by the recent devaluation of the kwacha to the effect that it leaves them with a K3.5 million deficit.
This has left them with no choice but to trim the travelling squad from eight to three, which will affect the performance of the two totally blind athletes Chisomo German and Janet Shedan as each one needs a guide, according to Paralympics coach George Luhanga.
He said it will also be difficult for the Malawi Paralympics Committee (MPC) to lobby for support from the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) and their counterparts from other countries if some officials such as the MPC president Juma Mkandawire fail to be part of the trip.
â€œApart from that, the athletes cannot perform better without the presence of their coach and team doctor. We, therefore, plead with local companies to help us so that the entire squad should travel to London tomorrow,â€ said Luhanga.
He said if the worse comes to the worst, they would need at least K1 million so that the two athletes should travel to the games with their guiders.
The athletes and their guides are currently being hosted by the coachâ€™s family are expected to be in London before the games start on August 31. The opening ceremony will be on August 29.
Manica Malawi donated K200 000 to the team on Friday while City Glass gave them golf shirts.