RUNNER Kabange Mupopo says winning a gold medal at the All-Africa Games has given her hunger for more success.
“Winning the first gold for Zambia means a lot because of my hard work and I will continue working hard to reach were I want to be. I am very happy for my gold,” Mupopo said.
Mupopo clocked 50.22 seconds in the 400m final, setting a new national record.
“The race wasn’t difficult. My target was to reach at least 49 seconds but again I am happy for my time,” said Mupopo in an interview at Kintele Stadium on Tuesday night.
She attributed the success to hard work.
“Winning gold takes me higher in my career. It gives me a lot of challenges that I need to overcome not only in Africa but in Europe also,” Mupopo said.
She said the victory is a morale booster ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
After the race, Mupopo wrapped the Zambian flag around her shoulders as her opponents congratulated her.
The Zambian delegation unleashed the Chipolopolo anthem much to the joy of the crowd.
National athletics team coach Douglas Kalembo was excited with Mupopo’s victory.
“I expected it because she has been training hard after a disappointing performance at the World Championships in China. Running 50.22 seconds is world class and it is a matter of time she will be running 49 seconds,” Kalembo said.
Mupopo’s achievement brings the number of gold medals Zambia has won to five overall in the history of the All-Africa Games.
The women relay team finished fifth with 44.97 seconds in the 4X100m final.
Mupopo led the team comprising Abigail Sepiso, Lumeka Katundu and Yvonne Nalishuwa.
Nigeria won gold with 43.10 seconds, Ghana settled for silver on 43.72 seconds, Ivory Coast trailed in third position with 43.98 seconds and Kenya timed 44.75 seconds to finish fourth.
Sixth were Cameroon on 45.27 seconds, Mauritius (46.21 seconds), Congo (46.40 seconds) and Sierra Leone 48.59 seconds) were seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
There was confusion in the men’s 400m relay final after Nigeria and Mauritius were disqualified for coming into conflict with the rules.
Initially, Ivory Coast finished first, Nigeria were second, third were Namibia and Zambia took the fourth position.
The Confederation of African Athletics Association will rule on the issue and Zambia could settle for bronze.
The Zambian relay team had Chidamba Hazemba, Brian Kasinda, Titus Kafunda and Sydney Siame.
Director of sport in the Ministry of Sport Bessie Chelemu said Mupopo has done Zambia proud.
“Today is an exciting day for Zambia. We saw Mupopo win the first gold medal in athletics and tomorrow [yesterday] we will see the Zambian flag flying high during the medal presentation,” Chelemu said.
She said Government will invest a lot of resources in sport.
Chelemu also commended the men’s relay team for putting up a good showing.