MWEMBE KAONA, Lusaka
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE OF ZAMBIA
2016 saw Zambia send a small contingent of seven athletes to the Rio Olympics in Brazil, matching its roster of the 2012 London Olympics.
However, the team returned empty-handed.
The Zambian delegation led by Boniface Kambikambi as Chef De Mission featured two returning Olympians from the previous Games, including freestyle swimmer Jade Ashleigh Howard and sprinter Gerald Phiri in the menâ€™s 100 metres.
20-year-old swimmer and 2014 Youth Olympian Ralph Goveia (menâ€™s 100m butterfly) was Zambiaâ€™s youngest competitor, while half-lightweight judoka Mathews Punza (menâ€™s 66kg), the oldest of the team (aged 28), served as the nationâ€™s flag bearer in the opening ceremony.
Punza and sprinter Kabange Mupopo (womenâ€™s 400 metres) were the only Zambians to progress beyond the first round of their respective sporting events at the Games, but neither of them reached the final and had the opportunity to end their nationâ€™s 20-year podium drought
The NOCZ however held some programmes to promote governance such as the African women in sport leadership forum at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka which was opened by republican Vice-President Inonge Wina and attracted 65 participants from 42 countries.
The forum also aimed to provide key tips for female sports leaders as well as give them the tools and counsel to enable them, in turn, to become mentors for other women seeking to work in sports.
Basketball saw more of league activity following its transformation from a national association to a federation at its annual general meeting in Kitwe.
The resolution gave birth to the Copperbelt Basketball Association and Midlands Basketball Association, Northern Province Basketball Association and the Southern Province Basketball Association, thus taking basketball to all parts of the country.
I n t e r m s o f t e c h n i c a l development, the first-ever module two International Basketball Coaching clinic was held at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka while a module one programme was held in Kitwe.
The menâ€™s senior national team was invited to the inaugural World Indigenous Basketball Challenge in Vancouver, Canada but due to lack of funds the Zambia Basketball Federation was only able to field North American-based players in the tournament.
In terms of the league, the MBA is yet to conclude its programme while the CBA finished on schedule with Lunga Bullets and Lunga Woosterâ€™s respectively winning the men and women Copperbelt league titles.
Although the MBA league is yet to be concluded, Matero Magic are in a vantage position to win the menâ€™s league.
Towards the end of the season Lusaka-based clubs Matero Magic and University of Zambia travelled to Bulawayo for the Lakers Invitation basketball tournament.
UNZA Honeys won the womenâ€™s final while their men-folk, Pacers, won the masculine version.
MWEMBE KAONA, Lusaka