Malawi swimming national team winds up its participation at Ninth Cana Zone VI Championship in Maputo, Mozambique hoping to salvage some remote 2012 London Olympic Games qualifying hope. The event is being held at Zimpeto Swimming Pools.
Malawiâ€™s main hope is in Charlton Nyirenda and Joyce Tafatatha who won silver in the 13-14 years category of the womenâ€™s 50 metres breakstroke when the event started on Wednesday.
Malawi Aquatic Union president Dean Pinto said he was confident the 21 swimmers would apply their skills learnt after three months of training.
“[The squad] is a mixture of boys and girls aged between 12 years and 18. It is captained by Charlton (only one over 18 years). The gala will be used also as preparations and test for Olympic swimmers,” said Pinto while stressing that the team is one for the future.
So far, none of the five disciplines earmarked for the Olympics have met the qualifying time despite Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) promising a reward of K500 000 ($3 000) for those meeting qualifying bench mark.
MOC has earmarked athletics, taekwondo, boxing, swimming and weightlifting for the London Olympics to run from July 27 to August 12 2012.
If none of Malawi athletes meet the time, MOC will send to London four athletesâ€”two girls and boysâ€”on solidarity.
According to Olympic records, Malawi debuted at the Olympics in 1972 and has never won a medal, let alone meet qualifying time.
According to a report in the Telegraph newspaper of the United Kingdom, Nyirenda is, so far, Malawiâ€™s stand-out performer at the Olympics having won a heat at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The poor results have, among other initiatives, forced MOC to introduce incentives, including K1 million (about $6 000) for a medal winner and K500 000 (about $3 000) for a coach producing outstanding athletes.