Malawi’s top female athlete Tereza Master bashes govt, AAM

Malawi’s seasoned female athlete, Tereza Master, has bashed the Joyce Banda administration and the Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) for failing to give adequate support to athletes.

Master, who defended the 8km senior women’s national cross country held at Njamba Park in Blantyre over the weekend, regretted the development which she said would not help Malawi’s efforts to win desirable medals at major global competitions.

Speaking exclusively to Nyasa Times after winning the race, the Mulanje-based athlete said it was disappointing to note that officials from the athletics body were benefiting more at the expensive of athletes.

“Malawi will never achieve anything at international competitions because government and the association [AAM] do not care about the welfare of the athletes,” Master said.

The angry Tereza Master- Pic Lucky Mkandawire.

The angry Tereza Master- Pic Lucky Mkandawire.

“They apportion fat allowances to themselves and give peanuts to the athletes and yet they expect us to do well,” added Master who has represented Malawi at a number of international competitions.

Master’s claims were probably confirmed with the scale of prizes which the country’s top athletes received during the national cross country event which ranged from K12 500 (about US$29) to K50 000 (about US$115).

Similarly, the top athletes had no running kit (uniforms) with most of them running barefooted and in their ordinary clothe.

The day-long event which drew athletes from across the country was funded by government.

Master said Malawian athletes had low self-esteem at international competitions because of poor sports attire they get from government.

“During international competitions it is demoralising to see fellow athletes from other countries immaculately dressed while we do not even have running track shoes,” she lamented.

In a related development, AAM President, Godfrey Phiri, has appealed to athletes to take the sport as a career.

Phiri said athletes should develop a culture of training all the times to keep themselves fit and ready for any competition.

“Much as you take athletics for fun it is a profession which can transform your lives,” said Phiri at the end of the event.

“You should consider training throughout the year not just when preparing for competitions.”

Malawi National Council of Sports Board Chairman, Bestor Kalombo, also said athletes should always aim higher.

“The centre of all activities is the athlete. The passion must come from the athlete. You don’t just practice for an event. What government can do is simply to complement,” Kalombo said.

Malawi has never won any medal in athletics at world competitions apart from long distance runner Catherine Chikwakwa’s silver medal during the World Youth Games in Italy in 2003.

She achieved the feat while based in Germany after former expatriate coach for Malawi Elizabeth Olaba from Kenya brokered the deal.

Malawi's top three female athletes running barefooted at Njamba Park- Pic Lucky Mkandawire.

Malawi’s top three female athletes running barefooted at Njamba Park- Pic Lucky Mkandawire.

Junior men's athletes at Njamba Park, most of them running barefooted and in their ordinary attire- Pic Lucky Mkandawire

Junior men’s athletes at Njamba Park, most of them running barefooted and in their ordinary attire- Pic Lucky Mkandawire

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