Choosha’s chance for Zambia

SHORT-DISTANCE runner, Chauness Choosha steps on to the running tracks of the 80,000-seater gigantic Olympic Stadium today where she will show off her prowess against eight other runners in the Women’s 100 meters race at the on-going London 2012 Olympic Games.

 The 19-year old Choosha is a wild card entry at the London Olympics, who came on board as a replacement for long-distance (5,000 meters) runner, Tony Wamulwa.

 Wamulwa got injured in a road traffic accident on July 7, 2012, two days before he and other Olympians could travel to Scotland for intensive training ahead of the games; effectively ruling him out of the Olympic Games that started on Friday, July 27 and end on Sunday August 12.

With all but three athletes remaining in the Zambian contingent at the London Olympics, the country is now only banking on pre-Games favourites; 100 meters sprinter, Gerald Phiri and 800 meters runner Prince Mumba, both based in the United States of America for medals, while Choosha’s result will not count for any medal for the fact that she is a wild card entry.

 Choosha, whose personal best record is 11:90 seconds, but has been entered under 12:71 seconds in the 100 meters Women’s race, is just hoping to break her personal record because whatever number she comes out in the race, will not count for any medal.

 As a wild card entry, one just improves their personal best record despite the number one emerges in the event; the same thing that happened to swimmers Zane Jordan and Jade Howard who entered their respective categories in the 100 meters men’s backstroke and 100 meters women’s freestyle events.

Jordan, who is based in Australia, emerged third from a competition of three and improved his best personal time of 59:33 seconds to 58.77 seconds, an improvement of 2.50 seconds and also set a new record for Zambia.

On the other hand, Howard, who is based in here in London, was first in the 100 meters women’s freestyle event, set her personal best at 59:35 seconds from 1:01.24 that she was entered in the Olympics, to become the first Zambian woman with a record of under one minute in the freestyle event.

The same will apply to Choosha, who is running in lane seven, heat one of the 100 meters preliminary round and is wearing bib 3366; she will just improve her best personal record.

 Making her debut appearance at the Olympics, Choosha says is under a bit of pressure before she races, but is confident of giving her seasoned competitors a good run for their money, adding she is not scared of them.

 The Musuku High School pupil from Monze said, she was positive of delivering good results for mother Zambia and improve the country’s profile at the Olympics, despite the fact that her result would not count towards any medal.

“I am under a bit of pressure right now, but I am not scared. For me to be here among the world’s best, means I am among the best athletes in the world and I can make it,” said Choosha who intends to become a nurse or a military personnel.

 Choosha will race against Aissata Traore from Guinea whose personal best record is unknown and will start in lane two, Feta Ahamada from the Comoros Islands with a personal best of 11:59 seconds will be in lane three, while Afa Ismail from Maldives with a personal best of 12:98 seconds will be in lane four with Rima Taha from Jordan with a record of 12:91 taking up lane five.

 In lane six is Kaingaune David from Kiribati with a personal best of 13:72 seconds, Choosha lane seven, Bamab Napo from Togo with a record of 12:55 will take up lane eight and Dana Razak Abdul from Iraq, whose personal best is 11:88 seconds will be in lane nine.

Athletics coach, Felix Mbuye said from his assessment of Choosha so far, he is hopeful she will perform well and bring glory to the country, despite her racing as a wild card.

 He said Choosha, who had her last training session at the Olympic Stadium yesterday to loosen up before her race this morning starting at 10:00 hours, has what it takes to deliver positive results for Zambia.

 ”I think she is ready for the race. She will have her light training session this afternoon (yesterday) to complete her training. What is important is to compete against the best in the world and from what I have seen in the past and in the run up to tomorrow, she is ready. I hope for the best from her; if only she’s not intimidated with the crowd, she can perform well,” Mbuye said.

Short distance runner, Phiri who has only entered in the 100 meters men’s event, probably one of the most exciting events here where he will line up against some of the world’s finest in Usian Bolt, Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, among others, will take to the running tracks tomorrow at 10:00 hours at the Olympic Stadium, while the other runner, Mumba will race on Monday in the 800 meters men’s athletics event.

Since gaining political independence from Britain on October 24, 1964, Zambia to date, boasts of only one Olympics Bronze medal from boxer Keith ‘Spinks’ Mwila who scooped the country’s first Olympic medal in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in the United States.

 In 1996 at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta in the US, now retired 400 meters-hurdles specialist, Samuel Matete was the only other athlete who brought home Zambia’s silver to date. Matete appeared in four Olympic Games from 1988 to 2000.

The under-23 national football team reached the quarterfinals at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games where current Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Kalusha Bwalya scored three goals in the 4-0 victory over Italy in the group stages of the competition, before the senior national team, the Chipolopolo scooped the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Trophy on February 12 in Gabon this year. / times of zambia


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