Malawi did not prepare for paralympic – Sports Minister

Malawi’s sports minister Enock Chihana has said the country did not prepare for the ongoing Paralympic Games in London because of  lack of funds

Chihana, speaking on pan-African eNCA television which Nyasa Times monitored from London as it has started broadcasting in the United Kingdom on the Sky pay-TV platform, said “it is very unfortunate” that Malawi had withdrawn from the games.

“On our side we did not prepare,” said Chihana, adding “next time we will prepare for the games.”

The Sports Minister admitted “responsibility” for the withdraw but blamed Malawi Paralympic Committee for approaching government two days before they were due to fly to London for the games.

“They did not give us enough time to prepare,” he said.

Chihana: This is just a small incident

The International Paralympics Committee had promised to help the government fund the trips to London, but Malawi government never came up with its part of the money.

On what message the withdraw would send to the persons with disability, Chihana said it should be understood that the withdraw is due to lack of funds because Malawi is “stabilising” from economic and political crisis.

“Our government is very committed to issues of disability,” he said.

“Malawi is one of the few nations which has a ministry responsible for persons with disability,” he added.

“This is just a small incident that has happened,” said Chihana.

Meanwhile, the sports minister has advised sports bodies in the country to make timely preparations for forth coming engagements to avoid a repeat of the current scenario.

International Paralympics Committee (IPC) gave Malawi organisers MK2.3 million as a grant to cater for air tickets of  visually-impaired sprinters Chisomo Jeremani and Janet Shedani and their guiders Faith Labana and Chiyembekezo Jamali.

However, the local organising committee failed to raise funds for their officials to accompany the team to the games as IPC only pays for athletes.

Malawi committee has to reimburse the international body the MK2.3 million it had received.

“ It is a huge disappointment,” Juma Mkandawire, president of  MPC said.

Mkandawire  said the athlete have been  demoralised ,

An 18 year-old Jelemani was to compete in the 200 meters, while Shedani, 17, could run in the 100 meters, along with their guides.

Their coach George Luhanga said  they are all “ devastated”  because the government failed support them.

Malawi’s Federation of People with Disabilities (Fedoma) has also expressed upset over the government’s decision to withdraw from the games

“The same government sent a delegation to the opening of the Olympic Games. They should have put paralympics on the budget as well. What we see here is a question of priority,” Fedoma executive director Mussa Chiwaula is quoted saying.

With a population of 14 million, Malawi has more than 300,000 people with various degrees of disability.

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