Zomba couple dominates Tour de Dwangwa: Malawi bicycle racing

Husband and wife dominated Tour de Dwangwa bicycle racing event on Sunday when they emerged winners in both men and ladies professional categories at Chitowe Stadium in Nkhotakota.

Mervis and Steve during the Tour de Dwangwa at Chitowe stadium. Pic by Anjoya Mwanza, Mana

Mervis and Steve during the Tour de Dwangwa at Chitowe stadium. Pic by Anjoya Mwanza, Mana

The couple, Marvis Kadewere and Steve Mapemba showed they meant business when they both scooped first positions in a 100 kilometre distance race from Chintheche to the Stadium.

The champions who travelled all the way from Chikanda in the old capital city district and belong to Zomba Cycling Club went away with two mountain bikes worth K260, 000 each.

Although Kadewere participated in the event for the first time, she managed to beat Mayida Madikhula who has always shined in that category since the ladies professional category was introduced in 2014. Kadewere finished 18 minutes earlier than Madikhula who came second.

While the couple was happy that it managed to scoop first positions after hard work and training, it expressed disappointment towards how this year’s Tour de Dwangwa event was organised.

“We are disappointed because the prizes we have received do not match with how much we have worked hard to make it to top positions.

“ The bikes may have a high monetary value but they are not necessary because we cannot use them for training. We would be happy if they should have given us cash instead of materials,” said Mapemba.

Mapemba also complained that the organisers did not tell them in advance of the prizes to be won and reasons behind the activity.

Peter Piringu Vice Chairperson for Round Table 69, a charitable organisation that organizes the tour said the complaint was valid, but could do nothing as the main sponsor pulled out at the eleventh hour.

“We depend on sponsors and cannot choose the materials we want to be won as prizes. On the other hand, we could not cancel the event but planned according to available resources as some big sponsors including TNM pulled out at eleventh hour,” he said.

He also attributed communication breakdown among the cyclists themselves as a source to the participants’ worry.

“We communicate with those to participate through their fellow professionals in Dwangwa, but it seems they do not provide relevant information because of reasons known to themselves. This has been a learning point and we will find means to be communicating directly with the other participants in advance,” Piringu said.

He however promised that people should not be carried away with disappointments experienced during this event saying.

“We promise that the event will continue to take place and it will always be colourful.”

Speaking during the function, General Manager for Illovo Dwangwa Lal Bachan commended tablers for a remarkable job of organizing the entertaining event every year.

He said the occasion organised by Roundtable 69 which has a membership of 14 dedicated young men and 6 ‘41ers’ (people who were active members but are now more than 45 years old) also helps cyclists in the country to show their skills.

Bachan said the tour is organised as an entertaining charitable event which its proceeds are used to help vulnerable population around the sugarcane growing area.

“I am glad to hear that the funds realized from this event will be used to feed the hungry communities surrounding us. The funds will also help the group to continue with cervical cancer mass screening exercise which it started last year,” said Bachan.

Organisations that assisted included Illovo, Nkhanga Essential Services, Dwangwa Sacco, FMB, Wheel Masters, Intersaf and Total Malawi.

In the event, 223 cyclists participated and among them were 24 professionals from Mzuzu, Blantyre, Zomba, Dwangwa and Lilongwe.

 

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