Malawi risks missing out on 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games because of financial constraints facing associations following the rescheduling of Olympic Games from 2020 to 2021 due to Covid-19.
This follows Malawi Olympic Committee’s (MOC) announcement that it will not finance qualifiers for sports associations.
The shifting of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021 has caused panic among associations since some Olympic qualifiers have been shifted to this year. The Birmingham 2022 qualifiers are also taking place this year.
Athletics, swimming, basketball, boxing, netball, cricket, weightlifting, hockey, gymnastics, squash, table tennis, judo, badminton and wrestling are among the affected sports disciplines.
MOC, who are also responsible for Commonwealth Games in the country, said they will not finance qualifiers.
“The 2022 Commonwealth Games are by qualification. Each nation will have to participate in the qualifiers. Qualification are solely associations’ responsibilities. MOC will take charge of the national team once it is known,” said MOC administrative secretary Naomi Chinatu in an interview.
In the 2020-2021 financial year, Malawi National Council of Sports set conditions to finance sports disciplines, citing poor governance issues among some associations.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) are yet to raise about K5 million to send athletes to Olympic Games qualifiers in Botswana next month.
“Currently, we are struggling to secure funding to send 10 athletes to Botswana for the Olympic qualifiers. We know we have to be ready for the 2022 Commonwealth Games too. We hope government will come to our assistance. This is about Malawi. These athletes carry Malawi flag,” said AAM general secretary Frank Chitembeya.
Malawi Boxing Association president Pyson Likagwa said Commonwealth Games qualifiers will take place in March and October in Zimbabwe and Kenya respetively and the boxing association is looking for funding.
“We have the qualifiers in March, but we don’t have money since a good part of our annual government subvention has gone towards buying boxing equipment such as rings and other items. We will need assistance from well-wishers and the corporate world,” he said.
Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Association of Malawi (Wabam) have two Commonwealth qualifiers in March and July.
In an interview, Wabam head of technical committee Bright Limani said they hope the corporate world would assist them.
He said: “It is very important for athletes to go to the Commonwealth Games, but we do not have money. We will engage partners to help sponsor the qualifiers. We know it has been a bad year for business but we hope they will do something.”