ZAMBIA’S swimming ace Tilka Paljik gave the local swimmers some hope of winning medals at the 2013 Confederation of Aquatic Nations (CANA) 10th Africa Junior Championships that got underway in Lusaka yesterday.
The four-day event has attracted 15 countries and is taking place at the 90 Days Legacy Swimming Pool at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC).
Paljik emerged fifth in the 200 metres breaststroke finals to qualify her to the final round for the day in the 200 metres Breastroke category.
Paljik swam her race in 3 minutes and 59 seconds with Schoenmaker Tatjan from South Africa coming first in that category to finish in 2 minutes, 35 seconds and 05 milli-seconds.
Paljik, who swam in heat two, was by press time expected to compete for a medal.
The Zambian champion however had difficulties in the freestyle managing a distant 12th in the 200 metres free style.
South Africa and Egypt dominated day one of the championship that ends on Sunday and has Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles, Nigeria, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and hosts Zambia participating.
South Africa and Egypt were leading on points in the backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke categories.
Egypt dominated the boys’ under 14 and 16 categories while South Africa took most of the girls’ races.
Other countries who made an impact are Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya who had most of their swimmers qualifying for the finals.
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili who officially opened the four-day tournament said swimming in Zambia has continued to make steady progress.
Kambwili said government is happy to note that the sport is being introduced in remote areas.
He said the government of President Michael Sata will continue to give equal attention to all sporting disciplines.
“We are glad to host this tournament and our sincere gratitude goes to all the participating countries for making the event a success. To the swimmers, this is the best opportunity to show us what you can do,” he said.
Kambwili encouraged the Zambian swimmers to do their best and reminded them that they were swimming for mother Zambia and are required to make the country proud.
Times of Zambia