By MICHAEL MIYOBA
ZAMBIA Athletics believes the relay national team still has a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games despite having tumbled at the 2021 World Athletics Relays event in Silesia in Poland.
The relay team finished last in the 4×100 relay and missed out on a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing with a record of 44.80 seconds.
ZA president Elias Mpondela said the quartet of Suwilanji Mpondela, Lumeka Katundu, Hellen Makumba and Zambia’s fastest woman Rhoda Njobvu needs proper preparations ahead of the African championships in Algeria.
Mpondela said despite the challenges the team faced at the World Athletics Relays event in Poland, Zambia is ranked eighth in the world with their national record which they ran in Lusaka in April.
Mpondela said the weather in Poland affected the relay team’s performance with second leg runner, Lumeka Katundu suffering from a hamstring injury which caused the poor performance.
“Poland was cold and it was around 11⁰c our second leg runner had a twitch in her left hamstring and she almost gave up but she fought to hand the button to the third leg, our team was strong but in sports there are what we call unforeseen circumstances,” Mpondela said.
“We know what our team is capable of doing and we believe in them so much, we can’t blame them what we need is to encourage them as they prepare for the next competition in Algeria at the African championship, despite not producing the results we all expected their time still ranked among the fastest in 2021,”
Mpondela said the relay team can still achieve great heights as it comprises of the fastest female athletes in Zambia.
He said there is need to encourage the girls as they prepare for the next competition in Algeria at the African championship, despite their failure to produce the expected results in Poland.