Seasoned athlete Chancy Master reclaimed his crown as king of long distance in Malawi by winning the 12km senior men’s event during the national cross country held at Njamba Park in Blantyre on Saturday.
The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier achieved the feat in 37:23:59 minutes fending off strong opposition from up-and-coming athlete Grevazio Mpani and fellow solder Francis Khanje.
It seemed so easy for the Kamuzu Barracks based athlete who took the lead right from the start throughout the six rounds to recover from last year’s painful loss to junior athlete Cephas Kesten.
Mpani, who came second, also gave Master a good run for his victory but fell short of the Kenya trained champion’s steady pace.
He finished in 37:41:16 minutes while the experienced Khanje, who has been in the shadows of his ability in the past three years, settled for bronze in 38:14:48 minutes.
In the junior men’s event Kesten, who attempted a double, but failed in the senior’s race emerged the champion beating his long-time rival Harry Sichale.
Kesten clocked 24:44:12 minutes with Sichale coming second after outsprinting fellow Mulanje-based athlete Pearson Nairuwa with about 10m to the finishing line.
In women’s junior six-kilometer event, a Lilongwe rural athlete Mercy Malembo won gold in 29:59:99minutes followed by Memory Ziba in 22:35:99 minutes while Nalicy Chirwa.
Master said he was happy to reclaim the title after undergoing military training.
“I didn’t feel the pressure because I had trained hard to win this event,” Master said in a post-event interview.
“I have also proved people wrong that I have lost my potential as a long distance runner.”
In the senior women’s event experienced Tereza Master, sister to men’s champion Chancy, maintained her fierce dominance in long distance by claiming the title in 30:17 minutes, while Mudana Phiri came second in 30:41 minutes and Doris Fisha was third in 31:06 minutes.
The champions in both senior men and women pocketed K50,000 each, runners-up K25,000 and third place got K12.500 while in junior categories champions received K30,000 each, runners-up K15,000 and on third position K7.500 each
Malawi National Council of Sports Board Chairman, Bestor Kalombo, applauded Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) for successfully organising the event.
AAM President, Godfrey Phiri, thanked government for funding the event which also attracted the country’s top class athletes such as Rodwell Kamwendo, John Kayange, Chiyembekezo Jamali and veteran Golden Saizi.
“Today we have seen that Malawi has potential athletes who can put the country on the map if well nurtured,” observed Phiri.
He said the association would shortly be picking the country’s representatives for the Southern Africa Cross country scheduled for February 24.
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