This week I start a series of articles on sport in Mozambique. It is not intended here to make an in-depth approach to the subject, but rather to remember the main moments that marked national sport in different modalities, at a time when national sport, with some exceptions, is going through a deep existential crisis. This week, the focus is on Athletics.
The practice of Athletics in Mozambique began to register some development in the 1950s, being practiced mostly in missions and rudimentary schools. During this phase, the main stage of the competitions was Parque José Cabral, the current Parque dos Continuadores. It was also during the colonial period that some of the greatest national references of the sport emerged, such as António Repinga, half marathon record holder and Victor Magalhães, 200 meter record holder. However, since the 1960s, this modality has weakened due, as some studies have pointed out, to the advancement of the National Liberation Struggle.
With the conquest of National Independence, the practice of this sport gained a new impetus and given the importance that the sport was acquiring, in 1978 the Mozambican Athletics Federation was created which in the same year joined the IAAF (International Athletics Federation) . At the provincial level, the Mozambican Athletics Federation is represented by the Provincial Associations that organize the events at the local level and qualify the provincial representatives for the national championships that are organized by the Federation.
On the other hand, in the scope of the massification of the sport, several events were created under the slogans “Correr é Saúde” and “Corrida Contra Pobreza” (Race Against Poverty), which also involved state leaders.
In individual terms, during the first half of the 1980s, some athletes, who came from the period before independence, stood out in this modality with national records, as mentioned above. António Repinga (national record of 10 thousand meters), José Magalhães (record of 200 and 400 meters) and Cândido Coelho (record of decathlon), Constantino Reis and Pedro Mulomo, Ludovina Oliveira, Stélio Craveirinha are the athletes that stood out the most.
The first international competition in which Mozambique took part as an independent country, was the 1979 Moscow Spartacias, in which two athletes from the club Ferroviário and the National Team, Pedro Mulomo and Constantino Reis, participated.
In 1980, Mozambique participated for the first time in the XXII Olympic Games held in Moscow. At the event, the country was represented by fourteen athletes, twelve men and two women. No athlete made it to the semi-finals. The following table shows the times and classifications obtained:
|MOSCOW OLYMPIC GAMES, 1980|
Eduardo Costa (100 meters): 11.02 in the Heat
Constantino Reis (200 meters) – Disqualified
Vicente Santos (1,500 meters): 3.58.07 in the Heat
Pedro Mulomo (5000 meters): 15.11.9 in the Round
Dias Lettuce (10000 meters) – Quit
Abdul Ismail (110 meters Barreiras): 15.18 in the Heat
Stélio Craveirinha (Long Jump): 6.94 in the Elimination
Acácia Mate (800 meters): 2.19.07 in the Heat
Ludovina Oliveira (Disco) – Disqualified.
(Source: Victor Pinho. Mozambican athletes at the Olympic Games – “Nambauane”. In: bigslam.pt.)
In 1984, the country participated for the second time in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in the United States of America. At the event, Mozambique was represented by four athletes. The highlight was Leonardo Loforte, who was still in the 400 meters heats with a time of 47.07 seconds.