President Peter Mutharika and main opposition Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) president Dr. Lazurus Chakwera on took to social media to congratulate netball shooter Mwawi Kumwenda for winning the International World Games Association (IWGA) Athlete of the Year award.
Mwawi, Malawi’s only netball export and Africa’s only netballer competing in the ANZ Championship – the world’s most prestigious netball league– in New Zealand, won the award after she got a landslide votes ahead of Russian dance couple, Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova.
According to results posted on IWGA website, the Queens’ sharpshooter was confirmed winner of IWGA Athlete of the Year after amassing 17, 910 votes.
Second place went to the Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany with 9,168 votes while the Russian dancesport couple, Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova have been ranked third (7,722 votes).
A trophy will be awarded to Mwawi in cooperation with the International Netball Federation.
Writing on his official lnstragram and Facebook account, Mutharika wished the netballer continued success as she looks forward to participating in many netball events ahead of her.
“Gertrude and I join Malawi and Africa in congratulating Mwawi Kumwenda for winning the International World Games Association (IWGA) Athlete of the Year award at a young age. This is a tremendous achievement of which we are all proud of,” the Malawi President said.
“It brings to our nation immense satisfaction when a Malawian earns such global recognition beyond our shores. Her journey to success; perseverance, hard work, commitment and patriotism will remain a source of inspiration for our young people; we hope that many will follow in her footsteps,” Mutharika said.
While Chakwera, who is also the Leader of Opposition, claimed that Mwawi deserved the award and that her achievement should remind ” us what we can each achieve for our country if we work together and support each other.”
“I am delighted to hear that the International World Games Association (IWGA) has given Mwawi Kumwenda the 2015 Athlete of the Year Award, having beaten 17 other candidates from all over the world.
“For me personally, it was an honour to vote for her, but I also want to thank all of you who responded positively to my public appeal for your support for this impressive daughter of Malawi. You deserve this award, our support, and all the doors of opportunity opening up for you,” posted Chakwera on his Facebook page.
Former president Bakili Muluzi said he was “happy” with the news that Mwawi has received the award.
“I am so happy for Mwawi Kumwenda. She has made Malawi proud of her achievements and many will be encourages that yes we can achieve our ambitions,” said Muluzi.
Malawi’s immediate former president Joyce Banda also congratulated Mwawi through her personal assistant Andekuche Chanthunya.
Meanwhile, the netballer has dedicated the award to Malawians and all people who inspired, motivated and challenged her “in my life along the way to get to where I am right now.”
“Just as common wisdom dictates that one single hand cannot clap, and one leg cannot – on its own – run, I too could never have done it all alone. This is why, I am grateful to you all great people who have come this far, with me.
“To netball players from all the teams that I have played in, including the Malawi Queens and Tactix (my current club) and more importantly, those that I have played against: thank you for being part of the game.
“For all of the advice and wise words you’ve provided me over the last several years and all of the incredible strength you’ve forced me to see in myself. Because of you, I am today stronger and more capable to do anything I set my heart to,” said Mwawi.
She also took trouble to extend her gratitude to President Mutharika, Leader of Opposition Chakwera, Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya and Minister of Sports Grace Chiumia for putting political differences aside to unite and rally behind her cause.
“Your unity in this quest is why Malawi has won with a landslide victory. It goes to show that – together – as a people and as one family, we can go farther. We can scale the highest heights; and we can do more and better for dear Malawi,” said Kumwenda.
She then promised to “keep fighting, keep living, keep training hard, and keep dreaming.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :