From Malawi to world domination at Rio Olympic Games: Dual citizenship really needs to be revisited

At the Rio Olympic Games, two sisters, Cate and Bronte Campbell are representing Australia but they were born in Malawi — in 1992 and 1994 respectively.Duncan Logo

Sydney Morning Herald reported this week with a catching headline; ‘Rio Olympics 2016: Cate and Bronte Campbell, from Malawi to world domination’.

“From humble beginnings in Malawi, to the Olympic stage in Rio, the Campbell sisters are used to multicultural experiences, specialising in world domination. With Cate recently putting her name in the history book with a 100m World Record and Bronte biting at her heels, Rio may well be the Campbell show,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

I remember a few years back Malawi National Council of Sports issued a decree that no foreign passport holders were allowed to represent Malawi at international games. This came about after foreign passport holders were the only ones who qualified to represent Malawi in swimming.

Malawian passport holders don’t make the grade to qualify for the Olympics but only attend on solidarity. I don’t know if the two sisters intended to represent Malawi but after learning the sport here they moved to Australia where they went on to represent that country and Bronte became an Olympic gold-winner, world champion, and world record-holder.

Her older sister Cate also won two bronze medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

What are we missing here? There are so many dual-passport holders from Africa who are representing their host nations in the West and they are proudly honoured.

Why can’t we revisit the law restricting dual citizenship and let those born in this country like Cate and Bronte Campbell to represent us and bring the medals like what other countries do?

Many people made jokes about France, who have an almost all-black side. People called it an African side during the 2016 Euro Championship.

The great Eusebio played for Portugal but he had roots from Mozambique, Zinedine Zidane had roots from Algeria, Marcel Desailly is Ghanaian — the list 7s endless.

Now check, Cate and Bronte Campbell are world class and the international media acknowledge that it all started in Malawi. Wouldn’t their medals be said to be Malawi’s for having raised them here?

Sydney Morning Herald  reports: “Malawi was where it began for the champion sisters. The constant heat of the African summer meant the girls were always in some form of water.”

But who has benefitted from our ‘constant heat’? Australia!!!

Competitive swimming in Malawi is only taken seriously by expatriates’ kids like Cate and Bronte Campbell and if we identify some, let’s utilise them.

They keep the medals to themselves but we earn the honour.

The headline could have been “Malawian born Australians carry the day for their adoptive country”. I would have loved that.

Europe is full of Africans represent them and I believe we should take advantage of it and there are so many expats trying to groom foreign passport holders to represent Malawi in swimming at the international level but their hands are tied because of dual citizenship.

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2 thoughts on “From Malawi to world domination at Rio Olympic Games: Dual citizenship really needs to be revisited”

  1. wozindikira ndiwokonda balls says:

    kodi Duncen game ikutha bwanji kuKamuzu and Nankhaka? muzitipasako ma live updates like pa Goal paja. its high time guys we grow technologically otherwise zikutibowa zodikira ma results after knocking off. tachinjani achimwene style of presenting football in Malawi. mumatiyimirira kwambiri and timadalira kuti tiwona kusintha.

  2. International Observer says:

    The bottom line is international training facilities which are lacking in the country. Most Africans representing their countries do not reside in those poor countries, only South Africa and a few north African countries can manage. For an athlete to train in a western country they need to have good money which is lacking in a local Malawian. Late Dean Pinto’s daughter had to go for training in South Africa using her own money. Until government intervenes, don’t expect anything from a local Malawian. By the way these 2 Malawian turned Australian ladies why is it that their surname is western? If the father is Australian and the Mother is Malawian then they are right to compete under the Australian flag.

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