Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) Director Clement Chileshe, says he is optimistic that the Zambian athletes who have left the country to participate at the 2016 Rio De Genero Olympic Games in Brazil will bring honor and positive results to the nation.
Speaking shortly after seeing off the athletes at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport Wednesday Morning the 3rd August, 2016 Chileshe said though the number seamed small the quality of athletes sent to these Games has improved.
“We have done better than a number of African countries but our aim is to increase the number of qualifying athletes each Games as well as begin to bring back home medals” he said.
Zambia has only 2 medals in the Olympics (1984 Bronze in Boxing by Keith Mwila and 1991 Silver in 400m hurdles by Samuel Matete. Zambia also achieved its first ever Youth Olympics medal in 2014 at the Nanjing Games where Sydney Siame reaped a Gold medal in 100m.
He said the Zambian athletes have a good chance of reaping medals at the Olympics if they apply themselves fully.
Chileshe, disclosed that the OYDC has pledged to give the athletes K15,000 for every medal brought back. He further pledged that as an individual he will give K5, 000 to the athlete that brings a medal.
He called on institutions and individuals to consider supporting and appreciating every athlete who will bring medals to the nation during the Games.
“They have achieved a lot already by qualifying and we all need to encourage them to do better by bringing honor to this country through medals” he said.
He wished all the athletes and their coaches God’s blessings and urged them not to despair against some of the world’s best athletes.
Meanwhile, Mathews Punza, judoka, who spoke on behalf of others said the athletes will strive to make the country proud by bringing back medals.
He thanked everyone for the support towards their participation in the Games.
Zambia will be represented by seven athletes at the Rio Olympics Games.
The athletes left the Country aboard the South African airline.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s top female athlete and Africa number one 800m runner Kabange Mupopo and her coach Douglas Kalembo will leave on 6th August.
Zambia Judo Association President Alfred Foloko and National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) Executive Director Brenda Chipande were at the airport to see the team off.