By RONALD CHAWE –
BADMINTON maestro Kalombo Mulenga’s drop on the Confederation of Africa Badminton (BCA) rankings has left national coach Juma Muwowo worried about his prospects of making this year’s Youth Olympic Games.
According to the latest rankings), Mulenga, a gold medalist at the 2017 Zambia International Open, has now slumped into second position on the continental junior chart’ with Egyptian, Mohammed Mustafa Kamel replacing him at the summit.
The drop is as a result of Mulenga missing the Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Egypt, Algeria, Ethiopia and Botswana international tournaments which Kamel took part in to earn more points.
Kamel moved to 6200 points while Mulenga, who also got bronze from the South Africa junior Open, is in second position with 4199 and is ranked 62 in the world.
He missed the events due to his time out to prepare for the grade 12 examinations last year.
He is the only Zambian junior player standing a chance to qualify for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) slated for October 6-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
However, Muwowo said although it was worrisome that the player might not make it, securing his education was important.
Muwowo said accumulating more than 2000 points was not a big deal because the player may catch up before the final qualifiers.
“What will determine qualification is the rank he will have at the close of qualification. He may qualify automatically and be the continent’s representative. So we are trying to ensure that he catches up because the gap in terms of points is not that wide,” he said.
Muwowo described the race for Buenos Aires as tight and that Mulenga needed more tournaments to increase his chances of qualifying.
He said this will mean that Mulenga will have to pick up points from every tournament he competes in.
Mulenga will have to be entered in the senior team for the All African championship in Algeria next month to boost his chances of qualifying for the Games.
Mulenga and Rodrick Mwansa are the two juniors integrated into the senior team but the latter’s rank is low and chances for him qualifying are slim.