Paralympics athlete to camp in Japan

Top paralympics athlete Taonere Banda will have a two-week camp in Japan as part of her preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Malawi paralympics Committee (MPC) president James Chiutsi disclosed this on Tuesday after receiving K1.5 million from Toyota Malawi to help the partially blind athlete prepare for the international competition.

Mdelemani (L) makes a symbolic presentation of the dummy cheque to Chiutsi

Banda met the minimum entry standard for the paralympics women’s T13 400 metres (m) race in February this year after competing in the Dubai Grand Prix with financial support from the Agitos Foundation, a development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The qualifying time for females in the distance is 1.16 minutes, but she crossed the finishing line in 1.11 minutes.

Banda is expected to leave Monday for Japan alongside her coach Peter Genti with funding from the Nippon University.

“We believe this international camp will help our athlete to acclimatise ahead of the games and the financial support from Toyota Malawi will go a long way in her local camp,” said Chiutsi.

During the Japan camping, Banda is also expected to meet the qualifying standard for 1 500m race after failing during the Dubai Grand Prix, where she completed the race 20 seconds behind the required time of 5.35 minutes.

Toyota Malawi customer relations officer Beatrice Njikho-Mndelemani said by contributing 50 percent of Banda’s K3 million local camping budget, they expect other companies to follow suit since the athlete will be carrying the national flag. “We are in partnership with MPC since last year and this is the third time to support them. However, we believe that unity of purpose among corporate companies and other stakeholders is key to ensuring our flag carriers do well on the international stage,” she said.

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