The Zambia Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) is thrilled with the performance of Zambian athletes at the just ended Lusaka All Comers Meet held at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
ZAAA President Elias Mpondela says the Zambian athletes have put up a good performance that has seen several athletes qualify for three of the four major upcoming international athletics events.
ZANIS reports that Mpondela explained that so far, three athletics have qualified to the Junior World Championships, to be held in Cali, Colombia from August 4 to 6, 2022 and that 12 athletes have also qualified to the Senior African Championships in Mauritius that will run from June 8 to 12, 2022.
He said most athletes improved on their personal best times, due to the stiff competition provided by international athletes from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Botswana.
“The purpose of the All Comers Meet was to qualify Athletes to international events, ..We are excited with the performances, we have qualified a number of athletes, hopefully at the next qualifier, we can qualify more” said Mpondela
Athletes such as Lumeka Katundu, Muzala Samukonga Remmy Hangandu were in superb form as they produced blistering performances.
Mpondela however regretted that some athletes missed the qualifying points by whiskers, to the World Championships, for senior athletes to be staged in Eugene Oregon USA from July 15 to 24, 2022.
The ZAAA President said his association will continue to work round the clock, to ensure that the athletes are exposed to more competitive events to fine tune for the upcoming athletics events.
Mpondela also said that his association has compiled a provisional list of 15 athletes to represent the country at the forthcoming Commonwealth games to be held in Birmingham City, United Kingdom from July 28 to August 6, 2022.
The ZAAA Chief has commended government for its continued support to the association and pledged that Zambian athletes will do well in the upcoming competition.
Zimbabwean Athletics Coach Silas Muringani who brought twenty athletes to the event, said the All Comers Meet will help in the development of his athletes.
“We are very excited that our boys and girls performed well, some of them improved on their personal bests, and hope that this experience will help us to continue develop their talent” said Muringani.
Nikkie Onovo and Esnath Msongelwa, who are Zimbabwean parents and travelled with the team to cheer their daughters urged Zambian parents to take an interest in the sporting activities of their children.
The duo said sports helps the girls to stay away from vices and brings out the best in them and as they seek a career out of athletics.
And Sponsors of the Lusaka International All Comers Meet SWAN Insurance revealed that about K30, 000 has been inserted to provide insurance cover for the Zambian athletes at the event, as well as those travelling to Mauritius for the Senior African Championships.
SWAN Zambia Commercial Manager Gladys Nkonde said her organization has decided to sponsor Athletics, noting that smaller sports have been neglected and marginalized over time.
Nkonde said her organization remains committed to supporting the development of sports in the country.
Over 300 athletes turned up at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka to compete for last minute qualifying spots for the Colombia Junior World Championships, the Senior African Championships in Mauritius, Senior World Championships in Oregon, USA.
The Lusaka All Comers Meet attracted over 300 athletes from across the country out of which 28 athletes came from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.