ZAMBIA’S quest for medals at the 11th edition of the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville started on a familiar note with swimmers putting up a disappointing performance at the Concorde Sports Complex.
Ralph Goveia was Zambia’s best performer though finishing ninth overall in the 100m breaststroke qualifiers after timing 1.08:14 minutes in Heat Three won by South African Cameron Van der Burgh on 1.02:35 minutes.
In third place was Ahmed Kamal of Egypt on 1.03:62 minutes with Senegal’s Malick Fall in third place clocking 1.05:53 minutes while Goveia was fourth followed by Ahllan Bique of Mozambique who timed 1.15:62 minutes and Abubaker of Sudan finishing last on 1.24:14 minutes.
That 12th place overall placing saw Goveia put on the reserves in the finals.
Zambia’s Mathew Shone finished 12th overall in the same 100m breaststroke qualifiers after timing 1.13: 67 minutes in Heat one won by Alaric Basson from South Africa.
Basson clocked 1.04:26 minutes with Waasim Elloumi of Tunisia timing 1.04:42 minutes to finish second followed by Thiaw Ndir of Senegal in third place after his 1.08:93 minutes timing while Shone was fourth.
Andres Koka representing hosts Congo Brazzaville put up a poor fifth place finish on 1.21:37 minutes while Ofosu Turum of Ghana was last with a time of 1.28:04 minutes.
The only female swimmer Shannon Hassen had a poor swim in the pool finishing overall in 12th position in the 50m backstroke qualifiers.
Maraim Sakkr of Egypt won the heat with 29.00 seconds followed by Alexus Laird from the Seychelles who clocked 29.48 seconds while in third place was Alnday Malk of Egypt on 30.01 seconds.
Farah Ben Khelil of Tunisia timed 30.49 seconds followed by Kenyan Talisa Lanoe on 31.24seconds and Hassen on 33.25 seconds.
Swimming coach Tonia Welting attributed the poor performance to the confusion that characterised the start of the competition but was hopeful the swimmers will pick up as the tournament progress.
Welting said she was confident that the swimmers will put in their best in the remaining six days of the tournament in the various categories. “It is always difficult on the first day and also the confusion that came up when we did not know which day the competition will start. Otherwise I expect a good performance from them in the coming games,” she said.