SWIMMER Tilka Paljk says Zambian officials are outdoing each other for a spot to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics at the expense of athletes and coaches just for sake of getting allowances.
The outspoken swimmer has launched a vile attack on Zambian officials and the Ministry of Sport ahead of the Olympics that are set to take place in July.
In a post on her Facebook page yesterday, the South Africa based Zambian swimmer said she is considering calling time to her career owing to maladministration.
“The sad reality for me is knowing that my coach here in South Africa will not be able to come with me as my coach to the Olympics because he’s not Zambian. It’s not even a policy, the national team coach for a sport doesn’t have to be Zambian, but everyone is fighting to get a spot on the Olympic team as an official because the allowance is more than what athletes get, it’s really all about the money,” she said.
The Zambia 50, 100 and 200 meters breaststroke national record holder wrote to her 7,366 followers that things have to change.
“It has been 4 years since I’ve been asking the ministry for my coach to come with the national swim team, as our coach has trained 70% of the senior team. And their reply? “We want to send Zambian coaches for them to gain experience,” she said.
“The worst part is that we go there with some of the coach we are given and they have never trained us, they don’t know the times we should be going in warm up, they don’t know how we should be swimming a race, they don’t know the game plan, they don’t know the mistakes I sometimes make in my stroke, they don’t know where or how to correct it, some of the coaches we go with, I’ve never even met.”
The self-styled advocate said sport in Zambia is centred on officials rather than athletes.
“It’s so unfortunate that sport in Zambia is more about the officials than the actual athletes themselves, they don’t understand how mentally difficult it is not to have your coach there with you, to guide you, to be there for you, to give you advice, to have someone who knows you and has worked with you for years, be your ‘comfort zone’ in an unknown place.
“All these small things are so important for us to perform our very best, but I guess an officials’ experience is more important than the athlete’s performance,” wrote Paljk.
“Anyway, who am I? I’m just an athlete who’s opinion and ideas don’t matter to the ministry because as much as I kick and scream, my cries won’t be heard. This is the main reason I want to quit sport as a whole in Zambia.”