Two athletes from judo, Chikondi Kathewera in 60kgs and Harriet Boniface in 48kgs were the first of Team Malawi to fly out to Rabat, Morocco for the 12th All Africa Games set for August 19-31.
Judo team, Kudo, Kathewera, Tembo and Boniface Moneyi Chingaipe for athletics
They are accompanied by coach Ryoma Kudo and doctor Happy Tembo and the next group, table tennis (Floriano Massah Jnr and Salam Issah), leave on August 17 while chess’ Joseph Mwale, Gerald Mphungu, Daisy Nkhoma and Tupokiwe Msukwa are scheduled for the 22nd.
Other disciplines that were prepared by Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) are archers Mark Abel, Bzalani Kamtotole and Areneo David while athletics has Stain Lifa (100m), Gift Kawale (200m), Kefasi Kesteni (5000m), Chauncy Master (10,000m), Golden Gunde (400m), Miriam Kachingwe (5,000m) and 2018 Malawi Sports Awards Junior Athlete of the Year, Moneyi Chingaipe in 1,500m and 5,000m.
Taekwondo has Joseph Phiri Jnr (68kgs), Stanislaus Karlos Phiri (74kgs) and Vester Banda (56kgs) while Felipe Gomez is for swimming.
Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Susan Namangale said their team is well prepared and they have been practising hard to face fellow great chess players from Africa.
“As Chessam, we are proud to be part of the All Africa Games for the first time under the leadership of the new [world chess governing body] FIDE president Arkardy, who is keen to support the sport in Africa.
“The expectation of FIDE is to have chess as part of the Olympic Games and the organisation for chess games for the All Africa Games has been great, thanks to FIDE and the team working to support the logistics of the games.
“I am happy to be part of the team ensuring that chess gets its presence at the All Africa Games and thanks to Malawi Olympic Committee for ensuring registration of Malawi chess.
“Although I have failed to be part of the Games after been appointed by FIDE to be in the appeals committee my heart and soul will be with chess in Morocco. I failed to go because of tight work commitments here.”
Chess’ leader of the delegation Leonard Sharra said all the players are in good shape because they have been active throughout the year as they have been involved in a number competitions both at regional and national levels.
“We are good to go because everyone is itching to gain more points for their international ratings that may eventually earn them to attain higher titles,” said Sharra, who at his peak as player represented Malawi as a at the 2006 World Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy.
He was in the first Malawi national chess team to take part in an international competition sanctioned by FIDE and he says he will use his first experience to instill confidence in the players never to be overawed by any opponent.
“My best achievement in chess was winning the Masters Plate Championship in Blantyre in 2018 after beating top players like Petros Mfune and Chiletso Chipanga, who had just been crowned African Amateur Chess Champion,” Sharra said.
Interesting inclusion in Team Malawi is that of the three archers, especially Swiss-based David Areneo who won a gold medal at the FITA Open Competition which took place on June 23 in his host country, Switzerland.
Areneo came to prominence in 2016 when he competed at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where he etched a historic mark for Malawi as the first ever archer to compete in an Olympic tournament.
For winning the FITA Open Competition in June 23 in Switzerland, gave him all the chances of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
David, 24, is from Kambalame Village, Traditional Authority Mavwere in Mchinji District and he was one of the Malawian athletes who were awarded scholarships by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be in high performance centers abroad to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Coached by Korean Park Young-sook, he so far he has five medals — two gold, two bronze and and one silver.
In January this year, he won the silver medal in an 18-metre indoor championship also staged in Switzerland which attracted 30 participants.