Depleted Malawi sports team has grown thinner following the withdrawal of swimmer Charlton Nyirenda from the 2012 London Olympic Games which start this Friday.
Â Nyirenda is returning after failing to meet preconditions for swimmers participating in the games on Olympic Solidarity, Malawi Aquatic Association (MAU) president Dean Pinto confirmed on Monday.
“He has not been able to participate at the Olympic Games due to the reduced allocation of swimmers on Solidarity by IOC and requirement by Fina [swimmers governing body] to have swimmers qualify through the “B” qualifying times. Joyce Tafatatha will be the only representative for Malawi and will swim in the 50 metres freestyle heats as a “wild card” entry by Fina as she too had not made the required qualifying times,” Pinto explained.
Nyirenda, the only Malawian athlete to win a heat at the 2008 Games, returns after spending a month at Gloucestershire University training camp alongside Tafatatha, runners Mike Tebulo, Ambwene Simkonda and John Kayange.
Also returning are pacesetter Kayange, athletics coach Francis Munthali and pre-games team manager Jappie Mhango.
No Malawian has ever won a medal at the Games.
The Malawi training at Gloucestershire was arranged prior to the final qualifying requirements, which Pinto said were “beneficial in improving their swim techniques and times considering that they [swimmers] would have been idle here in Malawi due to the non-availability of heated pools.”
Malawi leader of delegation Flora Mwandira confirmed from London yesterday that athletes who entered the Olympic Games Village on Saturday were Tafatatha, Simukonda and Tebulo.
Official welcome ceremony for the Malawi team was on Sunday. Tafatatha will compete in 50 metres freestyle on August 3, the same day Simukonda will try her luck in 400 metres. Tebulo will contest on August 12.