Runner Asimenye Simwaka was the star of the show at Kamuzu International Airport (Kia) in Lilongwe as Team Malawi arrived Thursday from the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The team returned home empty-handed after lackluster performances that dashed the nation’s hopes.
The contingent comprised 22 athletes and 12 officials.
It was a nightmarish return back home for majority of the athletes as they were accorded a cold reception upon arrival for failing to win any medal at the Games.
Simwaka deservedly attracted all the attention to herself after finishing sixth in the 400 metres (m) final. She also reached the semifinals of the 200m category.
Her coach Pachisi Nyasulu also got a warm reception for guiding the runner through.
It was a befitting welcome as Innobuild rewarded Simwaka and Nyasulu a plot each for the exploits.
Simwaka said she was excited with the warm reception.
“I am really motivated and I will continue working hard. The sky is the limit,’’ she said.
Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) pledged a K1 million reward to the Malawi Defence Force runner.
Moc president Jappie Mhango said there were several positives that he had drawn from Team Malawi’s performance at the Games.
“The future looks bright for some of the sporting codes including boxing, athletics and judo. They did well and we need to encourage them. We are very proud of what Simwaka achieved,’’ Mhango said.
He however said there is need to start rebuilding the Malawi National Netball Team which finished seventh after a 62-57 win over Wales.
The country also had a swimming team at the competition.
Malawi first competed at the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and has gone 36 years without winning a medal after the bronze success of boxers Lyton Mphande and Solomon Kondowe in 1986.