Controversy over Malawi athletics Commonwealth team selection
Controversy surrounds the selection of Malawi athletics team’s selection for Glasgow Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 22 to August 4 in Scotland.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) on Saturday called for time trials at Kamuzu Institute for Sports but many athletes Commonwealth Games hopefuls felt cheated by the manner in which they were done.
Despite the association’s appeal to the athletes that the trials would be used to select Malawi’s representatives to the Glasgow Games it transpired that trails were a hoax because the team was already picked.
Malawi’s top female sprinter Susan Tengatenga, who is a lawyer and daughter to renowned Emeritus Anglican Bishop James Tengatenga, was one of those who felt cheated.
She won the 200m in 26 seconds but she was dropped despite being assured that any winner would make it.
Her coach Moses Kondowe said it was shocking when Susan was told that she would not be part of the team.
“There’s no fairness in the whole Athletics Association Committee. They said they organised time trials to determine who to go to the Commonwealth Games. One of our athletes did better than some of those we are told have been picked only to be told that she is not on the list of those already selected,” Kondowe said.
“If they knew that they have already picked athletes to go why did they call for time trials and yet we paid for all the expenses on transport and accommodation to Lilongwe ?”
He said in 200m there was a false start by Golden Gunde and yet they did not call for a restart as it is the supposed to be the case.
“What is interesting is that they have picked him for the games.”
Up-and-coming athlete Grevazio Mpani is also conspicuously missing on the trip.
AAM President Godfrey Phiri admitted that it was tough to accommodate all the athletes with government reducing the number of athletes.
He said the government had offered athletics six places for instead of the 12.
The athletes are Chancy Master 1,500m men, Francis Khanje marathon men, Tereza Master marathon women, Golden Gunde 400m men event, Kephas Kesten 5000m men, Faith Labana 800m.
One of the athletics officials said the organisation of the trials was chaotic because it was surprisingly that they called for time trials despite that the preliminary entries were already done.
“There was nothing wrong with the trials but AAM would have been sensitive by calling only those who had been included on the preliminary entry,” he said.
“It is impossible enter an athlete who was not on the preliminary round.”
This is the second time for AAM to come under fire as it was also the case with the time trials for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in which the country’s top athletes Catherine Chikwakwa was dropped despite a directive from the former Minister of Sports Jaffalie Mussa for he to be included .
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