The main aim of the Cross Country running event is to promote athletics at grassroots level, more specifically in Malawian primary schools. This project comes against a background of neglect of athletics programs in primary schools. It is necessary to point out that lately there has been an up spring of several athletics activities across the country.However, a majority of them are patronized by senior and elite athletes which means there is little focus on early athletics development.
Early development is an important aspect in sports as it equips children who are at their best level of learning with the sustainable skills and passion for sports. This was also stressed by the incumbent minister of youth, labor, sports and manpower development in her speech at the 2018 Blantyre marathon. The introduction of this program in primary schools and its continued patronage will increase the ability of the nation to produce elite athletes who can bring home medals from international games including Olympic Games.
Research has shown that African countries e.g. Kenya and Ethiopia who have consistently exceled and dominated world athletics events have always invested heavily in grassroots sports development from primary schools. This has enabled them to discover talent at an early stage and nurtured it to its full potential. In the same vein, Malawi can borrow a leaf from these countries and initiate similar initiatives in order to make progress.
The Nature of the Project
As already mentioned, the Blantyre Urban Primary Schools cross country event is going to be a pilot phase with an initial focus on Zingwangwa Zone. Schools involved include: Zingwangwa primary school, Chimwankhunda and St pious (boys and girls), Manja, Mlambalala, Catholic Institute (C.I), Namasimba, Chitawira among others.
The Zingwangwa zone has been chosen for its proximity to the proposed venue for the event: namely the Mjamba Freedom Park.
Apart from the Blantyre Urban District Education Management Office, we are also working together with the Blantyre District sports office, the Malawi Schools Sports Association (MASSA), Blantyre District Sports Committee and the sports teachers in the primary schools involved in order to ensure the success of this program.
The success of the first event will lead to an expansion of the program into the rest of the Blantyre Urban schools, then Blantyre Rural before the same eventually rolls out regionally and ultimately, nationally.
The games will be categorized into Boys and Girls groups. Both groups will be divided based on age i.e. (9-13 years old and 14 years and above). The first group (9-13 years) will run 2 kilometers and the other group 4 kilometers. Each school will be represented by 12 students, 6 boys and 6 girls.
There will be four winners in total and they will be rewarded with different materials.
The short term deliverables of this pilot phase will be the ability to attract and retain interest of the students as well as teachers in athletics and most importantly the ability to induce them to independently conduct such games at school level. It is also expected to increase utilization of available sporting talent, and maximize participation in sports by the public. Moreover, the programme will increase support of sports in schools.
The following are some of the main resources required for the event:
2. Transport and Logistics
4. P.A System
5. First Aid
6. Winners Prizes
8. Chest Numbers
9. Barrier Taper (Banting)
Additional Materials will be included in the budget
The schools involved will be given at least 2 weeks to prepare their students and find the best athletes to represent them at zone level. Upon qualification, the representatives from respective schools will compete at the finals at Mjamba Freedom Park, tentatively on 18th May, 2019. At this time, our expectations are not absolute. This means that we will welcome input from our partners and stakeholders as well.