Over 30 athletes from seven sports codes stepped up their preparations for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Monday when they went into camp ahead of their trip on Sunday.
Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) president Oscar Kanjala said on Wednesday that although government had not yet released funding for the preparations, the athletes still went into camp at Sheaffer Conference Centre in Lilongwe.
“We had to borrow money because it could not have made sense for the athletes to depart without preparations. We could not wait any longer as we were told that funding has not yet been released by Treasury,” said Kanjala.
“The total budget was in the region of K140 million and K150 million. We met part of it in several ways, including the England camping because preparations cover a lot of areas such as conditioning, lecturing and psychological aspect. As, MOC, we have contributed not less than K50 million and the budget that was submitted to government was K83 million,” he said.
Codes that are expected to take part in the global sports showpiece are netball, boxing, swimming, athletics, cycling, judo, table tennis, weightlifting and bowling.
However, Kanjala said bowling and swimming are not among those that are in camp due to technical hitches.
“Swimmers are not in camp because we do not have the required heated pools to be used in this weather and there are no bowling greens in Lilongwe.
“However, the solace is that the targeted one or two swimmers are based outside the country while the bowlers are training in Blantyre,” he said.
National netball team captain Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira said this time around, they will have no excuse for not breaking into the top four.
“We have had preparations for six weeks and it is time we broke the jinx. Of course, the stumbling blocks to our dreams are New Zealand and Jamaica, but we are ready for them tactically, mentally and physically,” said Mtukule-Ngwira.
Athletics coach Isaac Phiri, who is with six runners in camp, said he would only know if his charges are ready to break new grounds at the prestigious event once he closely monitors their fitness levels.
“We started residential camp yesterday and it is difficult to say how we can fair at present. Within the camping period, I will be able to make a better comment because I would have properly checked their fitness, development of speed and endurance,” said Phiri.
The Malawi team will attend a week-long camp at the University of Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom before proceeding to Glasgow, Scotland for the games.
Kanjala said he was happy that all those in camp met MOC standards in terms of performance. He said apart from team sports, which Queens are going for, all other codes from the world-over participate at the Commonwealth Games on solidarity.
“Otherwise, I am happy to say that all other athletes in camp were chosen on impressive records. Remember that we are no longer interested in sending tourists, but athletes that can make us proud out there,” said Kanjala.