Verdade (Maputo)

10 December 2013

Mozambique: Canoeing - We're (Unquestionably) the African Champions!

Even without coaches of canoeing, Mozambique could win two gold medals and an equal number of bronze medals in 2013 Edition of the African Championship of Canoeing competition, which took place between 19th and 29th November in Tunisia.

For the General-Secretary of the Mozambican Federation of sailing and Canoeing (FMVC), Hélio da Rosa, also head of the delegation that travelled to Tunisia and won the "African", the awards won by our athletes are surprising inasmuch as there is a lack of competitions in Mozambique, putting its practitioners with a low level of shooting.

"We're not competing for accurate three years. The last race in which we participated and that equates to this African Cup was the tenth edition of the Maputo African Games. If we had played more international competitions, who knows, we would bring more gold medals to the country, "said Rosa, adding that Mozambique found in Tunisia tough and properly prepared opponents, some Olympians. Yet "we knew playing the races on equal terms".

A lot of talent and little effort win titles

Hélio da Rosa explained to @Verdade that to win this "African", in the category of "c1" of 200 and 1000 metres, as well as for achieving third position in collective race "c2" of 200 meters, Mozambique did not have a lot of work during the preparation.

"In addition to the proofs of qualifying that took place at Clube Marítimo, we had an internship in Chidenguele for a month of the 'African= '. Our athletes were there for two weeks", advanced our interviewing ensuring, on the other hand, that he was in doubt the presence of Mozambique in Tunisia by virtue that his organ does not have funds. "We had the support of the Olympic Committee, especially of Marcelino Macome, to whom we should thank for everything. Without them we wouldn't have gone to the League to win these medals."

According to our source of information, the national team had the opportunity to be prepared by a coach. In fact, this figure does not exist since 2011 after attaining the African Games in Maputo. "My athletes have prepared themselves. They have regularly seen videos from international competitions and inspired themselves to improve their performance each day. I can assume that they have joined the gift to the techniques that have assimilated over the months," he added.

The difficulties of our selection

During the competition that took place in the capital of Tunisia, between 19th and 29th November, our national team faced several difficulties. The first is related to feeding, according to what the athletes report.

"In addition to the weather that was too low, we had feeding problems. As an Arab country, the food has not been harmonised, or was not diversified," said the athletes, advancing that initially they were hosted at a hotel that offered good condition and later and because of logistical issues, they were led to another in Tunis City.

"We went to a deplorable place. There was no variety in the menu. We reported the situation to the Local Committee Organizer who simply ignored us. We ate bread with egg and juice", they confessed.

On the other hand, the Mozambican athletes complained of boats given by the organization of the "African" which, in their opinion, were not capable of being used in a competition of that dimension. "There were best canoes. But in this kind of competitions there are always children and stepchildren. We complained and nothing worked. The South African delegation was the most benefited and yet we have managed to win two gold medals ".

Canoeing lovers come to Mozambique, despite its financial constraints, has vessels that comply with the international standard of the competitions, unlike that found in Tunisia. "We were forced to borrow modern boats from opponents who were prematurely eliminated," they declared.

Mussá, bronze medal

Was the bronze medal winner in the race "c2" of 200 meters. He began his career in 2009 and was the pioneer of the canoeing Club Sport Marítimo de Maputo. He is 21 years and was born in Maputo city. For Mussá, "the race was good and we had been leading for a long time. But the condition of the track hurt us and it had not been possible to conquer the gold medal".

He explained that the Organization did not put the signalling buoys and "we were forced to stop before the arrival, we took the first position. We didn't know where the race ended and when we realised that we were in the wrong place, it was too late. There were two opponents in front of us ". The athlete also lamented the lack of a coach and stages pre-competitive that, in his opinion, would be beneficial to Mozambique in order to put its athletes at the top of international competitions." Just watching the videos is not enough. We need an experienced coach and opportunities to compete with opponents who have a wide experience in canoeing.

Joaquim Lobo, two gold medals and one of bronze

Joaquim Lobo is the new number one in canoeing in Africa. He was born in Maputo in January 6, 1995. He entered in this mode through the Clube Marítimo de Maputo training school in 2010.

He won both individual events in which he participated, including 200 and 1000 metres. On collective competition he won the bronze medal alongside Mussá. "I feel very happy. Winning this competition was the realisation o= f a childhood dream. It wasn't easy and I left Tunisia with a feeling of accomplished mission. Now I have to think about the future and the next international proof ", he revealed to @Verdade.

As secret, Joaquim revealed that were indispensable strength, determination and dedication. About the lack of African champion coach he emphasized that "any athlete needs a coach. Everywhere a person is required to indicate the right path, that shows us the mistakes and that will help us understand some things. We're not perfect". "As I said earlier, I need a trainer, a good oar and an international stage to maintain my current level," warned Joaquim Lobo.

About the lack of trainer

The Mozambican Federation of sailing and Canoeing told @Verdade that Mozambique does not need right now, a trainer of canoeing. However, Hélio da Rosa begins by clarifying what happened during the preparation for the "African" of Tunisia. "We came in contact with the technician who guided this selection in 2011. But he is in Brazil attending a course and he was unavailable to come back to work in Mozambique, despite his desire to go to Tunisia to guide the athletes", and he explained that "some of these are in age to be trainers of the newest ".

According to Rosa, the canoe does not prevent athletes from being coaches simultaneously. "What happen is that they don't want to stop competing. And we can't stop them because they make the country proud in this condition" he shot. Next year, the @Verdade knew, two of these five athletes who participated in the African Cup of Canoeing are going to Brazil to empower themselves in matters of formation of new talent.

Translated By Lauren Fox

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