By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
SHEPOLOPOLO captain Kabange Mupopo has been handed an 18-month athletics scholarship by the National Olympics Committee (NOC).
The scholarship is to prepare Mupopo prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to held in Brazil as a runner and not as a footballer.
Five other sports men and women in different sporting disciplines will benefit from the one-year- six month scholarships.
The athletics scholarship effectively closes the curtain on the inspirational national women football team captain’s life in active football after dangling with the two disciplines for the last two years.
Her life in football was always numbered after an impressive 2014 season which saw her crowned her as African champion in 400 metres flat.
In the same year, Mupopo also clocked a calendar year in which she on three occasions reduced her personal best time of from 53:57seconds to the current 50.87 seconds achieved in Marrakech, Morocco in September.
NOC general secretary Hazel Kennedy said in an interview in Lusaka that Mupopo had been impressive and was already under the IOC scholarship and would be based at the Olympics Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
“She has been doing pretty well lately and she has a good time, she has been reducing her time a lot over the last one year and we actually want her to work hard and improve on her time going into the Olympics,” Kennedy said.
She also said Mupopo would be joined at OYDC on the same scholarship by World Youth Olympics champion in the 100 metres dash Sydney Siame.
Kennedy said Siame was a prospect for 2020 Olympics to be held in Japan.
Others on the IOC scholarship is 400 metres specialist Saviour Kombe who would continue at his Mauritius base while heading to Kazakhstan are judokas Matthew Punza and Boaz Munyonga as well as boxer Ben Muziyo.