Malawi sports fraternity has officially embraced the Southern Africa Podium Performance Programme; a block sports science project meant to produce medalists at major world and continental sports events.
Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five president Dr. Vetumbuavi Veii on Wednesday launched the programme at College of Medicine Sports Complex whose High Performance Centre has been charged by the programme’s local administrators, the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS), to identify the athletes.
“The programme was endorsed by the Supreme Council of Sports Ministers and Malawi is the fourth country to have the programme introduced. We have the most organised sports region in Africa, but when we go to these competitions, we don’t get the medals. We have the capacity and the athletes, but the challenge is implementation,” Veii told the induction workshop’s participants.
He then called for harmony among sports councils and national olympic committees in the region after noting that “when big bosses are fighting, it affects the athletes”.
“I, therefore, appeal to you that let us think about two things; Malawi and the athlete. When you win medals, it is not about the olympic committee [MOC] or Sports Council but Malawi. I beg you to work in harmony. If you think you are in sports for you, then you are in the wrong place. Pave the way for somebody who will be there for athletes,” Veii advised.
James Chuma, MNCS board chairperson, said the programme had come at the right time when the country has been dispatching ill-prepared sports teams to major competitions.
“If well utilised, this programme will transform sports in the country. This gathering has come at the most oportune time when the sports fraternity and the nation are desperate for results,” Chuma noted.
The complex’s general manager Augustine Banda said he was relieved that the country has finally seen the sense in embracing sports science as a way of enhancing athletes’ performance.
Representatives of all sports associations and clubs are attending the two-day workshop that seeks to come up with tailor-made sports science initiatives. AUSC Region Five general manager Stanley Mutoya and vice-president George Jana, who is also MNCS executive secretary, are among the hosts of the workshop.
Council of Ministers for the African Union Region Five, to which Malawi belongs, agreed in 2013 to adopt the programme and offer block preparations aimed at winning Olympic medals among other major sports events.
The University of Pretoria High Performance Centre is involved as the overall in charge of all programmes in the region whereas the Sports Complex in Malawi plays a supporting role.