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‘Runners will win medals at Olympics’

ZAMBIA Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) president Elias Mpondela is confident Zambian runners will reap medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Mpondela said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that his association has established a pool of 2,000 athletes that are being groomed into top athletes.
He said a team comprising qualified coaches has been put in place to ensure athletes are equipped with necessary skills ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Sydney Siame, who won a gold medal at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, Kabange Mupopo and Saviour Kombe are among the athletes ZAAA is banking on for medals in Rio de Janeiro.
“We are moving forward with the team of highly-qualified coaches with skills to help us perform well in major international competitions. We are focusing on the 2016 Olympic Games,” Mpondela said.
He said the national athletics governing body will be more aggressive next year in identifying and grooming athletes from private schools.
Mpondela said his executive will work closely with the American International, Chengelo Trust and Lusaka International schools in tapping talent.
“We will be more aggressive in tapping talent from private schools. More focus will be on athletes under the age of 14 years, whom we will develop into top athletes,” he said.
Mpondela said his executive is indebted to Government and international sports organisations such as Germany Sports Corporation and Norwegian International Olympic Committee for the support they are rendering to athletics.
He also said funds from the Inter Company Relay assist the association to send athletes for various international competitions.