ZAMBIA’S female judoka Esther Sandu has accused national coach Moola Lipimile of lying to Sports Minister Vincent Mwale that she had a knee injury to justify his reason for keeping her out of the team preparing for the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.
Sandu said she had no knee injury as claimed by Lipimile and that she even participated in the Copperbelt Championship held last week.
“Lipimile lied to the Minister of Sports and everyone that I have a knee injury to justify his reason for ruling me out of the All-Africa Games-bound team because I am in perfect health.
“When I asked him why he had ruled me out of the team, he said I was over-weight but will tell everyone that I was injured. I am supposed to compete in the 52kg category but I weighed 3kg more,” she said
She said however that always an athlete works hard to reduce weight before leaving for the tournament, adding that she was surprised to be kicked out immediately.
“I can confirm that there are many judokas in the team that are overweight,” she said.
She said she was worried as an athlete and wondered why the coach wanted to finish off her career.
“I really don’t understand why he is doing this. When he ruled me out, I did not object but swallowed the bitter pill. But now he is lying that I am injured. This has affected my career,” she said.
Meanwhile, Zambia Judo Association (ZJA) technical director Francis Linosi said leaving out Sandu was as good as reducing the medal count for Zambia.
Linosi said Sandu was one of the experienced female judokas in the team capable of handling such a big competition.
“Sandu is not injured. She is even scheduled to compete at the World Military Games. The Zambia National Service command was worried when it was reported in some sections of the media that she was injured. She has been training hard hence shocked with the news,” he said
On Tuesday, Lipimile told Mwale that the team had suffered a set-back with Sandu ruled out due to a bad knee injury.
Sandu won bronze during the 2011 AAG and was among the judokas scheduled to represent Zambia at this year’s edition from September 4 to 19 in Congo-Brazzaville.