SYLVESTER CHISHIMBA, Lusaka
JUDOKA Mathews Punza and two others have left for Hungary for a four-year training programme.
Others are Andrew Kaswanga and Stephen Mung’andu.
The judokas left for Budapest on Saturday.
The trio have been awarded scholarships by the International Judo Federation to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
They will also compete in the 2017 World Judo Championships billed for August 28 in Budapest.
Punza and his colleagues will compete in a number of international tournaments during their four-year stint in Hungary to earn qualification points for the Olympic Games.
Kaswanga said in an interview that they will use the opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
“This is a rare opportunity we have been given, we aim to work hard so that we may qualify for the Olympics. We are going to train with the best instructors accredited to the International Judo Federation (IJF) for the remaining three years. We are targeting winning medals to make the country proud,” he said.
Mung’andu said he is eager to learn the latest techniques in the sport.
“I want to come and share the knowledge and skills I will learn with my fellow judokas. I thank God for giving me this opportunity to train and compete abroad again,” he said.
And Zambia Judo Association (ZJA) president Alfred Foloko has urged the judokas to maintain discipline and remain focused.
“Discipline is the cornerstone of our sport. Please do not relax but get to serious training because time is not with you. Three years is not enough and time is not on our side. I implore you to train and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Foloko said.
Prior to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Punza spent two years in