Visually impaired short distance runner Taonere Banda has qualified for the Tokyo Paralympic Games after winning bronze in the T13 women’s 1 500-metre race during the Fazza International Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
This means Banda, who was accompanied by her coach Agnes Chikwakwa-Jamali and lead official Memory Baluwa, will be the country’s sole flag carrier at the global showpiece through qualification.
The Fazza Championship was used as both a qualifier and a classification event ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics scheduled for August 24 to September 5 in Japan.
“It feels grade to win bronze at an international event and qualify for Tokyo Paralympics. It has always been my dream to make the grade through qualification,” said the partially blind athlete.
Banda, who is the reigning national champion in T13 women’s 1 500m division, represented the country at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Brazil.
Malawi Paralympics Committee (MPC) vice-president Joseph Galanje said they are proud of Banda’s achievements and are delighted that the country will be represented in Japan.
“We thank the International Paralympic Committee, the Malawi National Council of Sports and Nippon Sports Science University for their financial and technical support that enabled Banda to compete in this important qualifier for Tokyo Paralympics,” he said.
“It was a long journey and some members of MPC worked tirelessly during the journey in different capacities and they deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.”