Malawi Paralympic Committee (MPC) has launched Para Athletics Committee (PAC) to ensure that various sporting codes are given special treatment to produce the best results from physically-challenged athletes.
During the launch in Blantyre on Saturday, MPC president James Chiutsi said PAC is the first of the four committees to be established by the end of this year. The other committees are Power Lifting, Sitting Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball.
“PAC will be an independent body affiliated to MPC in the same way Athletics Association of Malawi [AAM] is connected to Malawi Olympic Committee [MOC]. It is mandated to identify paralympic athletes to participate in selected rural and urban areas in T11, T12 and T13 track events,” he said.
Chiutsi added that the newly established committees will be required to enhance capacity building in coaches, supporting staff and athletes’ classifiers, create awareness of the Paralympic movement, help social inclusion of disabled people and assist MPC develop elite athletes capable of winning medals at international competitions.
MPC has entrusted the running of PAC to a nine-member panel that comprises MPC vice-treasurer Joseph Galanje as chairperson, Vera Mbeya as vice-chairperson, Memory Baluwa (general secretary), Elson Chauluka (vice-general secretary) and Eward Kalilombe (treasurer). Richard Kamphulu, Elizabeth Perekamoyo, Watson Magombo and Northstar Phiri are committee members.
The panel, which will oversee the inaugural Malawi Para Athletics Championship on November 5 at Montfort School for the Blind in Chiradzulu, has been challenged to produce athletes that will compete for medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in Japan.
Galanje accepted the challenge, saying: “We will work tirelessly to ensure all the tasks on our table are diligently done. In four years, we will do our best to produce at least three medallists in Tokyo.”
The MPC national technical committee has since been dissolved to give chance to the PAC panel to identify national and regional coaches of their choice.
International Paralympics Committee (IPC), through Agitos, has provided MPC with a grant of about K8 million for PAC activities. Government, through MNCS, is expected to make an additional funding of K2 million. n