He might not have brought any medal for the national team, but Dennis Phiriâ€™s exploits during his 13-year career as a runner speaks volumes of what a force he was. He represented Malawi at the 1999 Zone VI Games in Botswana where he finished fifth in 200 metres.
He was also part of the team that participated in the Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Associations (Cucsa) games in 2007 and 2008 in Malawi and South Africa, respectively.
Phiri, now a teacher at Balaka Secondary School, started athletics in 1997, when he was a student at Chichiri Secondary School.
â€œMr. Isaac Phiri, then athletics national coach, enticed me to join athletics. I started with the shot-put, the javelin and the discus. I did well in this area and was the national champion between 1998 and 1999,â€ said Phiri.
He said after noticing potential of a good runner in him, in 2001, the coach shifted him to running where he joined the likes of Moses Kondowe, Ephraim Mzengo and Ruth Kenani who had already made names in the senior category whereas Nito Kondowe and Derrick Mzika were household names in the junior category.
However, Phiriâ€™s running career was brought to a temporary halt in the same year (2001) when almost all the athletes left, claiming the committee was just favouring long distance runners.
â€œI then switched to hockey. I started teams in Lilongwe and became chairperson for the Central Region Hockey League,â€ he said.
After four years of playing hockey, he returned to athletics in 2006.
Two years later, he participated in a national tournament where he emerged champion in 100 metres and 200 metres.
But he called it quits in 2010 after he sustained a hamstring injury during a national tournament. He was later appointed national youth coach, a position he holds up to now.