Malawi has been commended for its commitment in preparation of Africa Union Region 5 (AUR5) games to be held in December this year where 16 countries and 2,000 athletes are expected to take part.
The Region 5 Games were launched in Lilongwe on Thursday with the organising committee impressed with the preparations so far
Speaking during the launch AUR5 Organising Committee Chairperson Stanley Mutoya said he is impressed with the preparation of the games in terms of facilities.
“That is why we have given an expert to work with them, you saw me dancing during the launch, had it been was not happy I could not have been dancing,” said Mutoya.
Mutoya congratulated the Republic of Malawi through Minister of Youth for inviting the committee, in the tradition of the Region 5 Youth Games, to appreciate the preparations.
He said the launching of the Region 5 Games marks a significant ritual that defines the DNA of the Games and symbolically announces to the Region, Africa and the whole world that the Games are indeed certain.
Mutoya said, the launch was massive since every athlete, coach, technical official and sports administrator anticipates in the ethos of the Games and indeed Malawi has made that emphatic statement in a special way.
Mutoya said the tenth edition of the Region 5 Youth Games brings a rich historic nostalgia in that, on the 14th of August 2001, all SADC Heads of State and Government gathered in Lilongwe, Malawi and signed the Protocol on Culture Information and Sport.
He said Article 26 of this Protocol rallies State Parties to collaborate in the organisation of Regional Tournaments in different sports codes. This declaration gave birth to what then became SADC Under 20 Games before they were renamed Supreme Council for Sport in Africa Zone VI Under 20 Games before being transformed in 2014 into Region 5 Youth Games.
“As Region 5, we pride ourselves as being the leading home of innovation and excellence. Indeed, we have lived up to that billing over the years.
“These Games have become a breeding ground for talent, a bastion of exuberance and a beacon of excellence over their entire span of eighteen years. Sports icons and legends have been produced and moulded out of the tracks, stadiums and arenas of these Games,” said Mutoya.
He added that Malawi therefore has not made a mistake by taking its turn to host these Games which are hosted by all Region 5 Youth Games on a rotational basis in alphabetic order.
The Region 5 organising committee chief said that as Malawi launches the Games and unveils its marks and symbols today, it is sending an emphatic message to the Region and entire world at large that her turn has arrived to showcase the rich culture and heritage that defines her sovereignty and unique identity as the Warm heart of Africa.
He said with the way the world and indeed Africa has been ravaged by the ruthless invisible enemy called COVID 19, which left young people’s sporting careers moribund and economies on their knees, the games is a way of recreating hope in youth to help them rediscover their sporting careers once again and regain the belief that Africa is indeed a giant that deserves to dine with the global kings and queens of sport and once again turn back the hands of time to those pre-COVID 19 glory days.
Mutoya then spelt out good number of athletes who have graduated from A5 games and these include; Muhe, likes of Collins Mbesuma, the iconic Caster Semenya and Wayde Van Niekerk,
of South Africa who transformed into iconic world Track and field champions, Nigel
Amos who went on to become the World Junior 800m athletics champion, Naomi
Ruele the swimming sensation of Botswana, Donata Katai of Zimbabwe, Kama Billiat, a football poster boy, Partson Daka now playing for Leicester City in the English Football Premier League and just recently Christine Mboma of Namibia.
He said these have emerged out of these Games and gone on to become shining stars and world champions that the region is proud of.
“The investment by governments into these Games has not gone in vain. Lives and livelihoods have been transformed in a mighty way because of these Games.
“Nations have been united through the successes of their respective athletes on the length and breath of the globe. Infrastructure has been upgraded and businesses have been established, societies have been woven and countries have emerged as tourist destinations of choice because of the publicity they have received out of these Games,” he said.
In his speech , Minister of Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda said he was delighted to announce that through these Games, Government is bankrolling construction of a world class Aquatic Complex that will be able to host any international competition upon completion.
Chimwendo said this will be part of sport’s contribution towards tourism in the process bringing in the much needed foreign currency.
“The Griffin Saenda Indoor Complex is a monumental investment that not only serves as an iconic sanctuary for our revered Netball and a breeding ground for talented youths. It is a bold statement of the Government’s resolute efforts towards gender empowerment and development of sport,” said Chimwendo Banda.
The Minister explained that upon completion, the facility will house a multi-purpose state of the art arena for squash, handball, futsal, Netball, volleyball, basketball, tennis and a variety of other indoor sports disciplines that will change the face of sporting events hosting in Malawi.
Chimwendo said the Region 5 Youth Games will also lead to improvement of competition facilities such as CIVO Stadium and CIVO community sports Centre among others.
“These Games will directly lead to upgrading of other facilities such as the LUANAR hostels where plans are underway to renovate hostels which will thereafter improve the accommodation environment at the university.
“There will be massive infrastructural development and upgrade that will leave Malawi as a destination of choice through improved internet connectivity, upgraded hotels and lodges as well as improved service delivery,” he said.
Chimwendo Banda added that the country’s health service delivery and infrastructure will also receive a major boost and upgrade of it’s equipment.
“There will be modernization of our energy industry as we strive to invest in environmentally friendly and renewable sources of energy to power our sporting facilities in the long run,” he said.
The Minister said the Games will also lead to human capital development through training of over 400 technical officials who will thereafter raise the Malawi flag higher by officiating at other major international competitions.
“This is a significant legacy of the Games which will last longer than the memories of our successful hosting of the event,” Chimwendo Banda said.
During the launch FAM President Walter Nyamilandu , Malawi Boxing Association President Likagwa Zuma were also present.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :