Zambia’s reps begin Olympics countdown

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ZAMBIA’S tiny but determined contingent of flag-bearers at the 2012 London Olympic Games has begun to converge in Britain to intensify its preparations. United States-based middle-distance runner Prince Mumba was yesterday expected in Glasgow, Scotland, for intensive training ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Boxer Gilbert Choombe left for Cardiff, Wales, last Thursday for similar intense training. National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) secretary general Hazel Kennedy confirmed in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the 800m runner, Mumba, was Scotland-bound. Kennedy said another United States-based runner Gerald Phiri will fly direct to London on July 23.  The Games start on July 27. Judoka Boas Munyonga left for Scotland yesterday. Swimmer Zane Jordan, who is based in Australia, will also fly to London on July 23.  Another swimmer, Jade Howard, is based in London. Kennedy also said the NOCZ has started processing the visa for sprinter Chaoness Choosha who is an 11th-hour replacement for long distance runner Tonny Wamulwa who has been dropped because of an ankle injury sustained in a road accident. Choosha, a 100m and 200m runner, will be a wild card entry. She also said her executive has put measures in place to ensure that the runners are adequately prepared for the Olympic Games. And Wamulwa says it is painful to miss the Games. “At first I was shaken because I thought I had lost my leg forever. It is also painful to qualify to the Olympics and never get to see your dream come to pass,” Wamulwa said. In an interview from his hospital bed at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka yesterday, Wamulwa said he wanted to go to London and win a medal for Zambia. The accident happened near Chisamba on the Lusaka-Kabwe road last Saturday after the minibus they were travelling in had a tyre burst. Wamulwa is grateful that the injury will not lead to his leg being amputated. “I still have high hopes of getting back to my old self though this will take time. I doubt if I will be able to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games as the training I do is very tough,” Wamulwa said. Dr Gabriel Muyinda, who is travelling with the team to London said Wamulwa’s injury would take over 12 weeks to heal. Wamulwa underwent a surgical operation on Saturday and is in a stable condition. And ROBINSON KUNDA reports that Choosha and Munyonga have vowed to come with medals. Choosha and Munyonga, who were speaking during a sendoff ceremony organised by the NOCZ in Lusaka on Sunday night, said they are confident of performing well in London. Choosha said she has an advantage over other opponents even though she will be participating on a wild card entry because she has nothing to lose. “I am not a big name in athletics so I don’t really need to prove anything to anyone.  I will just work hard to try and win,” she said. Munyonga said he has what it takes to compete at the big stage like the Olympic Games. “For me, I have participated in so many competitive events like the World Championship. I believe it is just like the Olympics so I have nothing to be scared of,” he said. Director of sport in the Ministry of Sports Bernard Nakacinda said the nation is expecting the athletes to win medals. Delegation leader Muyinda, who is also NOCZ vice-president, said time has come for Zambia to start winning medals at big events like the Olympic Games. / DailyMail

 

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