Malawi’s chances of plucking medals at the ongoing Olympics in Rio, Brazil got slimmer on Friday after swimmers Amara Pinto and Brave Lifa failed to qualify to the next round of the respective women’s and men’s 50 metres freestyle categories.
Each section saw 16 contestants progressing to the next stage, but Pinto and Lifa settled for position 71 out of 91 and 83 out of 85 in that order.
This means the five-athlete Malawi team now banks hopes on men’s 5 000 metres runner Kefasi Kasiteni and women marathon runner Tereza Master, who were expected to compete as we went to press.
Archer David Areneo was the first to bow out after stumbling in the round of 32.
Although she finished in 30.32 seconds, 18-year-old Pinto was 6.09 seconds behind the leader Pernille Blume of Denmar.
No African female swimmer qualified into round of 16. Pinto was also fifth best performer among 17 Africans.
The continent’s best performer, Egyptian Farida Osman, finished 18th in 24.91 seconds.
In men’s section, Lifa, 20, crossed the finish line in 28.54 seconds. He trailed the leader Andriiby Govorov of Ukraine by 7.05 seconds.
Twenty Africans competed in the category, but only South African Edward Bradley Tandy made it into the next round after emerging ninth in 21.94 seconds.
“Our athletes competed against the best in the world and they tried their best. They just need to improve their time so that they can do better in their next international event,” said Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) ex-officio John Kaputa, who is with the athletes in Brazil. n