Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Ndacha Mcherenje braved the 42.193-kilometre (km) stretch to win the Blantyre City Marathon in the men’s category yesterday.
Mcherenje finished the distance in 2:27:10 hours (hrs) to beat 70 other athletes while Hosea Chaola was 18 seconds behind to claim silver and Mphatso Nandolo settled for bronze in 2:28:42 hrs.
However Chiyembekezo Jamali, who took the lead all the way to the 30km mark, failed to pull through as he was pushed to fifth position, finishing 11 minutes behind the champion.
Another top athlete, Chancy Master, also failed to keep the pace with 10km left and finished just outside podium position on fourth position while the 2007 champion Mike Tebulo dropped off limping after covering 30km.
In the women’s category, Tereza Master and her rival Doris Fisher battled all the way to the finishing line.
But Master won gold medal in 3:19:49 hrs while Fisher settled for silver, clocking 3:20:37 hrs while promising athlete Nalicy Chirwa got bronze medal in 3:22:35.
Champions in both men’s and women’s events received K1 million each, silver medallists got K500 000 each while bronze winners took K250 000.
The prizes were revised after Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Grace Chiumia directed that women’s and men prizes should be equal.
In her speech, the minister commended Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) for reviving the Blantyre City Marathon, 12 years after the last one, sponsored by Nico Holdings, was held.
“We need to start such programmes immediately as we were doing before because sports is important as it gives people an opportunity to earn a living,” she said.
Chiumia advised Sports Council to publicise such events to attract more athletes to participate.
MNCS executive director George Jana said the competition would be sustained and extended to other cities.
The event also incorporated relay races and fun run events were also held. n