Zambia: More Officials Than Athletes Travel to London Olympics?

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

BBC’s Farayi Mungazi recently tweeted about Australia sending the smallest delegation to the London Olympics after the 1992 Olympics, at the strength of 410. I responded to that tweet by asking if that delegation was small because Zambia was only sending 10. As it has turned out, it is a seven man contingent.

One netizen on Facebook, Durban Kambaki, took the country’s lack of seriousness in any sports discipline with some sarcasm:

Watching the Junior IAAF championships in Barcelona in the last few days, questions keep on ringing in my head. Zambians can't throw anything (Juveline, discuss, shot-putt (sic). Can't do anything in water, drop, swim etc where are our Lozis and ba ku Luapula (swimming and diving) [Lozis and Luapulans are riverine people], we can't run? (Watch the boys at Manda Hill chase for their money even vendors running away from LCC). So many poachers and not one can even go into shooting competition. So many people fighting we can't compete in judo, boxing, or wrestling. We only can, but can't be good at anything?

United States-based Prince Mumba will be representing Zambia in the 800 meters at the London Olympics. Photo source:

After a number of postings on the thread, Kambaki came back and wrote:

We shall be the only country with more officials than athletes. Remember there is always an international meeting that takes place during the games and we have to attend. So that's 4 committee memebers, one Judo coach, one swimming coach, three boxing staff, two running coaches and delegation leader and the usual accounts guy from the ministry. NOTE: THIS IS THE MINIMUM I AM STATING

Apparently, Kambaki was reacting to a story quoting the Sports and Youth Minister Chishimba Kambwili in which he said Zambia did not expect any medals from the London outing:

For the Olympic Games, as Government we want them to win but it will be expecting too much to think that our athletes can win gold.
We are going there just to participate and meeting the numbers. The London Games will also help expose our athletes for the future. We are just wishing them well.

Former world 400-metre hurdles champion, Samuel Matete, was the last Zambian to win an Olympic medal at Atlanta 1996 while the first medal was at the Los Angeles 1984 Games through boxer Keith Mwila.

Zambia will be sending light-welterweight boxer, Gilbert Choombe, judoka Boas Munyonga, swimmers, Jade Howard and Zane Jordan and runners, Prince Mumba, Gerald Phiri and Chauness Choosha.

Choosha, a wild card entry, replaced long-distance runner Tony Wamulwa, whose London ambitions went up in flames after getting injured in a road traffic accident recently.

Zambia’s participation at previous Olympic games is recorded here.

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.


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