Just a week after Malawi won a gold medal in chess through Chipanga Chiletso at the African Amateur Chess tournament that was held in Livingstone, Zambia, boxer Isaac Chilemba went on to win the WBC International Light Heavyweight title and the WBA Oceania Light Heavyweight title in Australia.
He beat by points Blake Caparello. It’s such a good feeling to be given these two titles and we are all hoping that Chiletso will go on to do well at the World Amateurs in Italy and come back with a title or even a medal itself.
In the same week, King of Malawi chess, Candidate Master Joseph Mwale, participated at the Pearson Boardwalk tournament that was held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where he came 4th out of 10 participants most of them being International Masters and also a Grandmaster Grover Sahaj of India, who went on to win the tournament.
At this tournament Mwale was vying for the higher title of International Master (IM) norm. A player requires three norms to become an IM or GM. Mwale was playing in a tournament with IMs so he had to show potential by beating them and finishing reasonably ahead of some of the IMs.
After that, he was to obtain an IM norm and if he was to play two more tournament that are similar in nature (having IMs in it), he would automatically get the IM title after acquiring 3 norms. That is the standard way by of world chess governing body, Fide, of obtaining titles.
There are other few instances when one would get the title outright like when you win a zonal tournament or when one wins the African individual championship, they can become a Grandmaster by default.
So we have something going on so well in these two sports disciplines. Chilemba has made Malawi proud before and it’s great to the ears to hear him being announced to the ring as a Malawian rather than as a South African as was before.
Chilemba was trained here in Malawi and he trekked to South Africa where he was sharpened. As he was doing well the South Africans wanted to claim him as their citizen and at times they displayed the South African flag.
But on his own, Chilemba started posting his images on social media with the Malawian flag in the background. I doff my hat to him for choosing to remain associated with Malawi.
In netball, we have three Malawians representing us through Mwawi Kumwenda and Mvula as players in Australia and England respectively with Mary Waya as coach in England.
Unlike football, Malawi netball is so well respected and Mary Waya was considered to be a coach there in order to tap ideas from an African perspective because the giants in world netball know that sooner or later Africa might start to conquer them.
What a week it has been for Malawi sport and we hope to have the best of things to come, even in football that has disappointed us for so long.