The country’s top female swimmer Joyce Tafatatha’s bid to improve her records at the qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Olympics suffered a big blow in Spain on Saturday when she fell sick midway through the competition.
Despite having bad fever at the start of the games, the 16-year-old forced herself to swim in three events which she finished few milliseconds down her records before she was eventually forced to withdraw for medical attention.
Her entry times in 100 metres breaststroke, 50 metres backstroke and 50 metres freestyle were 1:14:78 minutes, 30:94 seconds and 27:75 seconds, respectively, but she settled for 1:16:88 minutes, 31:65 seconds and 28:00 seconds in that order.
“She was determined to improve her record, but the bad fever let her down,” said Malawi Aquatic Union (AUM) coach Yona Walesi. “Currently, her family is looking after her.”
Tafatatha, who sat for her International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE) examinations in The Netherlands, was scheduled to be part of the Malawi squad set for the 16th Fina World Championships in Russia alongside Amara Pinto, Tayamika Chang’anamuno and Brave Lifa.
However, she opted for the Olympics qualifiers because she said they were “bigger and more competitive than the World Championships, where contestants are more interested in winning positions rather than improving their records.”
Tafatatha earned the olympics Qualifiers’ slot after emerging as Under-16 top seed during the National Championships in The Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the Malawi squad for the World Championships left the country for Russia yesterday. The competition is expected to run from July 27 and August 9.