Sport

Gerald Phiri Emerges as Zambia’s Most Impressive Olympian Despite Semi-Final Exit

Zambian sprinter Gerald Phiri did not make it to the finals of the 2012 London Olympics 100 metres race but is leaving the event as one of the country’s most impressive envoys.

He fell out in the semi-finals after posting 10:11 seconds, the same race the world’s most fastest sprinter Usain Bolt won at 9:87 on the way to an eventual gold medal where he timed an Olympic record of 9:67.

But no Zambian, if any, will be disappointed with Phiri’s performance considering the field of immensely talented runners he was pitted with.
Other than the Jamaican Bolt, Phiri was in the semi-final race with Ryan Bailey, Richard Thompson and Dwain Chambers. Look at his courage and his stance.

The 23-year-old runner still put up a fight among some of the greatest sprinters of his generation to finish ahead of three others – Daniel Bailey (Antingua and Barbuda), Antoine Adams (St Kitts and Nevis) and Bingtian Su (China) on Sunday night.

One of the seven runners that represented a population of 13 million whose last Olympic medal was 1996 courtesy of Samuel Matete in the 400 metres hurdles, Phiri is etching close to a coveted prize.

His London 2012 Olympics, provided it remains consistent, would guarantee Zambia a medal at the next Commonwealth and All Africa Games.

With more hardwork, it will be unsurprising to see Phiri on the medal podium at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Judoka Boas Munyonga, boxer Gilbert Choombe, wild-card entrants female sprinter Chauze Choosha, swimmers Jade Howard and Zane Jordan exited the competition with little or no pride promising nothing but the usual Zambia story of tourists.

Not even middle distance runner Prince Mumba, who was making his second Olympic after the Athens 2004 Games, came close to Gerald’s display.

Prince, like Gerald, is based in the United States of America and could not even qualify to the semi-finals on Monday after finishing in a disappointing seventh position in heat six of the 800 metres race.

The 27-year-old Lusaka native timed 1:49.07 to fall out of the preliminaries and close the chapter on another of Zambia’s disappointing outing to the Games.

The difference, though, this time is that there is a Gerald Phiri that displayed the potential to overcome mountains.

Gerlad has triggered the desire of an Olympic medal for Zambia and becomes the pride worth investing in.

To Zambians; Gerald says; “Thanks a lot to everyone for your love and support…It means a lot to me.

“[I am] Very disappointed I failed to make the final but it wasn’t my time…I’ll get over it eventually.

“This is just the beginning and I promise it will get better. [I have] got a few more races in Europe before I head home and rest then time to begin preparing for Rio 2016.”

No one can doubt, going by Gerald’s London performance, Zambia is moving close to a first Olympic medal come 2016 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

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