Visually impaired short distance runner Taonere Banda has promised to win gold at the 2016 Paralympics Games scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil from September 7-18.
Malawi Paralympics Committee (MPC) on Monday unveiled Banda as the country’s sole flag carrier at the Paralympics Games that will run 10 days after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
She was selected following her outstanding performance at Region Five Games in Zimbabwe and Zambia, where she won silver and bronze in 2014 and 2012, respectively.
“It has always been my dream to represent Malawi at such a global event and this is my only chance to prove my capabilities as a world-class athlete in 1 500-metres,” she said.
According to MPC president James Chiutsi, the 20-year-old has been chosen to compete under ‘Universality Wild Card’ in Rio since Malawi has no qualified athlete.
“After scrutinising the athletes in our fold, we realised Banda is better placed to represent us well in the Rio Paralympics Games,” said Chiutsi.
Banda, who is expected to fly to Rio on September 3, will go into camp alongside Grace Kambiri, Prisca Kachule, Geofrey Zacharia and Alinafe Puwa, who will represent Malawi at the Region Five Games in Angola this December.
International Paralympics Committee (IPC) will pay for Banda’s return air ticket and accommodation at the Paralympics village in Brazil while Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) will provide allowances.
Sight Savers have bankrolled the local training camp to the tune of K1.4 million. n