RUNNERS Prince Mumba and Gerald Phiri have been tipped as Zambia’s best medal hopefuls for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which run from July 27 to 12 August 2012.
And Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili yesterday left for London, flanked by his Permanent Secretary Agnes Musunga and other sports association officials, and is expected to address the athletes today.
The Zambian athletes arrived yesterday in London after two weeks of a reconditioning training camp in Scotland to begin their quest for the nation’s first medal in 16 years.
While other countries are sending hundreds of athletes, Zambia will be represented by one of the smallest contingents of only seven medal hopefuls.
The Telegraph, a British online publication, reports under its Olympic news that Zambia’s best hopes lies in Mumba and Phiri, who are specialised in 800m and in 100m and also qualified for the Games.
Mumba and Phiri would be competing in London after achieving the necessary qualifying standards.
Long distance runner, Tony Wamulwa, who had also set a qualifying time, will miss the Games after suffering an open dislocation on his ankle.
Wamulwa was dropped from the Olympics squad a day before the team travelled to Scotland on July 9 following a road traffic accident he was involved in on the Great North Road.
Lightweight boxer Gilbert Choombe and Boas Munyonga also qualified for the Games while swimmers Jade Howard and Zane Jordan, 100m women national champion Chauness Choosha are heading for the London Games as wild cards.
Zambia boasts only of two medals since the inception of the Games under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1896.
The nation’s first Olympic medal was a bronze won by boxer, Keith Mwila at the Los Angeles 1984 Games before former world 400-metre hurdles champion, Samuel Matete added a silver at the Atlanta 1996.
And the Associated Press (AP) reported that Olympic stars warmed up for the Games in Britain provincial centres.
More than 200 delegations from more than 90 countries have set up training camps across the country, far from the hubbub of the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Russia’s swimmers are at a boarding school in the Somerset countryside; the Namibian and Zambian delegations are at a leisure centre in Glasgow; Kenya’s highly-regarded athletes are training around the city of Bristol, while squads from Trinidad and Tobago, Botswana and New Zealand are in Cardiff.
The London Olympics will be followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games from August 29 to September 9.
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Zambia: Zambia Banks On Runners Mumba, Phiri for Medals