By MICHAEL MIYOBA
ZAMBIA Athletics (ZA) president Elias Mpondela says he is not bitter that the National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) chose gold medalist at the Tokyo World Championship, Samuel Matete to be part of the athletics team delegation going to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The athletics team made up of Sydney Siame and Rhoda Njobvu accompanied by coaches Douglas Kalembo and Samuel Matete is the final contingent leaving Zambia today for the Tokyo Games which officially kicked off yesterday.
Mpondela noted that despite not having been consulted, he has no issues with the appointment of Matete who will be making a return to Tokyo 30 years after he won gold in the 400 meter hurdles at the World Championships.
Mpondela who overcame Matete to win the ZA elections last December said the appointment of his rival will inspire Zambian athletes, not just the runners to work hard to make the country proud in Japan.
“We are not bitter though we were not consulted as ZA. NOCZ president Alfred Foloko called me to tell me that they had selected Matete to go with the Zambian team. It is not us as ZA who selected him but we have no problem and we are not bitter. Why should we be bitter?”
“We believe that Matete returning to Japan where he won a Gold medal in 1991 will inspire the athletes and we were hoping that he would have travelled early because his presence in Japan will motivate all the Zambian athletes,” Mpondela said.
Mpondela said ZA is condifent that the runners Sydney Siame and Rhoda Njobvu led by coach Douglas Kalembo would make the country proud.
He said that ZA believes in coach Kalembo who has drilled Siame and Njobvu from the time they were young.
Mpondela said both Siame and Njovu who will compete in the 100 and 200 meters race at the Olympic Games, have a chance to come back with medals because they are the best and are being led by Kalembo who is very good at Motivating athletes.