By Duncan Mlanjira
Switzerland-based Malawian archery champion, Areneo David returned home through Kamuzu International Airport on Friday, March 20 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and he has since been advised to be on self-isolation for 14 days.
According to Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) Public Relations Officer, Kythrina Phiri, David will eventually go back to training after the isolation process as he prepares for his chances of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
She quotes David as saying: “Tokyo 2020 is around the corner and I do not have enough time to train [but] I will resume intensive training soon after I finish the isolation process.”
Areneo David is one of the Malawian Athletes who benefited from the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship towards Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked all its national associations’ athletes to continue preparing for the Tokyo 2020 following fears of the deadly Coronavirus that has hard-hit China and most parts of the Eastern world.
A press statement from the IOC Executive Board issued two weeks ago, says a joint task force was created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organisers, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO) in monitoring the situation on the ground.
“The IOC appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host safe and secure Games.
“The IOC will continue to follow the valuable advice and cooperation of WHO, as the leading United Nations agency on this topic.”
The IOC also praised the great unity and solidarity of the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations and governments.
It welcomes the close collaboration and flexibility with regard to the preparations for the Games, and particularly the qualification events.
“All stakeholders continue to work closely together to address the challenges of the coronavirus.
“The IOC will keep supporting the athletes by providing the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website,” said the statement.
On June 23, David won a gold medal at the FITA Open Competition in Switzerland, giving him all the chances of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This will not be David’s first time to represent Malawi at the Olympic Games as he also did so in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro where he etched a historic mark for Malawi as the first ever archer to compete in an Olympic tournament.
David, 24, from Kambalame Village TA Mavwere in Mchinji District, is 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.
Meanwhile, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) has postponed to a later date the Presidential Netball Cup games which were slated for April 2 to 4 in Lilongwe due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) fears.
NAM has since suspended all the association’s netball matches in observance of the preventive measures which the Government has directed when President Peter Mutharika declared Malawi a State of Disaster on Friday following the spread of the COVID-19, which World Health Organisation has described as a global epidemic.
A press release issued by NAM general secretary, Carol Bapu on Sunday said they took into consideration the fact that on average, the crowds that patronize a netball match are over 100 people.
The Government restrictions of public gatherings says should be limited to 100 people.
Bapu said the association would continue to monitor and constantly assess the situation, get advice and guidance from government and health officials and put contingency plans in place to respond to any emerging trends to COVID-19.
NAM is urging their stakeholders to join the fight against this pandemic by observing the recommendations and general precautions against the pandemic.
She reminded Malawians to wash and/or sanitize their hands frequently, especially before eating and after contact with people.
Some of the recommendations and general precautions include, avoiding touching faces, in particular eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the virus from entering the body.
People are urged to avoid close contact (within 1 metre/3 feet), especially with people who display symptoms of the virus, such as cough or fever.
The public is encouraged to stay at home if they feel unwell, develop fever or other respiratory symptoms.—Additional reporting Arkangel Tembo, MANA