From ELIAS CHIPEPO In Gold Coast, Australia –
“I am disappointed”, were the words of runner Quincy Malekani after she fluffed up in the semi finals and failed to qualify for the women 400m finals as medal opportunities continued to elude Zambia at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Zambia’s slim hopes in athletics now lies with Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics gold medalist Sydney Siame who runs in the men’s 200m semi finals today.
Malekani finished in a disappointing seventh place in a race that she looked to have dominated until the last 120m when she ran out of steam allowing the likes of Maximilla Imali of Kenya and Ajayi Yinka of Nigeria to by-pass her and finish one and two respectively.
The Zambian timed 54.36 seconds having clocked 52.40 seconds in qualifying for the semi finals.
“I think the weather contributed. I started well but not really sure what happened. It has been a good experience and I will continue working hard for the next competitions,” said Malekani after she ran on the Carrara Stadium tracks that had been blessed with some rains minutes earlier.
Meanwhile, Siame, whose personal best is 20.29, clocked 20.65 seconds in the heat that was won by Hughes Zharnel of England who timed 20.34 seconds to advance to the semi finals.
Bismark Boateng of Canada and Joseph Amoah of Ghana finished third and fourth after they clocked 20.80 and 20.84 to qualify to the semi finals as the fastest runners.
Siame said he would remain focused and ensure he qualifies for the final and was not bothered about the time he posted.
“The most important thing for now is reaching the final. This is just the beginning and I am not worried about time because everyone was looking at qualifying to next round. If you saw my time it is not bad as compared to the rest because we reserve some energy for the next round,” he said.
He said he was not focused on which medal he would win but getting himself in the qualifying position for the next race and would see what happens when he reached the final.
Siame would face a seemingly easy semifinal line up that has Amoah, Emmanuel Arowolo of Nigeria (20.99), Jamaica’s Warren Wier (20.60), Munyai Clarence of South Africa (20.95), Aaron Brown of Canada (20.59), England’s Richard Kilty (21.08) and Ellis Burkheart of Barbados (21.02).