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Malawi sidelined from Mwawi Kumwenda’s award

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Malawi netball star, Mwawi Kumwenda, received in absentia her International World Games Association (IWGA) Athlete of-the Year 2015 Award in Switzerland early this week, much to the chagrin of sidelined Netball Association of Malawi (Nam).

Nam President, Rosy Chinunda, said on Wednesday she was shocked to receive a letter from International Netball Federation (INF) President, Molly Rhone, that she received the award on behalf of the New Zealand-based shooter.

“The organisers promised to communicate to us about the ceremony, hence we made arrangements that if Nam will not be represented, at least, Malawi Embassy officials should receive the award on Mwawi’s behalf,” Chinunda explained yesterday.

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“In any case, we do not think Mwawi’s club, Tactix, could have failed to sponsor her air ticket for her to receive the award in Switzerland. We will write INF to establish whether there is any arrangement to hand over the trophy at another ceremony.”

Minister of Sports and Culture, Grace Chiumia, yesterday referred questions pertaining to government’s expected representation during the award ceremony, to the ministry’s spokesperson, Christopher Mbukwa.

The publicist had not responded to our questionnaire as we went to press.

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IWGA President, José Perurena, presented the award to Rhone—whose body nominated Mwawi after she was voted the best player during the 2015 World Netball Cup in New Zealand— during the former’s annual general meeting held at SportAccord in Lausanne.

Mwawi shrugged off competition from 17 other athletes from a cross-section of sports to win the award decided by an online poll.

“Winning this award is not

only good news for Mwawi, but for her country, Malawi, and netball in general. Mwai has excelled through hard work and dedication to netball and is really deserving. She is a great role model for young girls and I congratulate her most heartily,” Rhone is quoted as saying on INF website.

Mwawi won the World Cup’s top player award in Sydney after registering an impeccable record of 91 percent shooting accuracy with 321 goals in eight games— she was the only player to score over 300 goals.

Mwawi’s fact file

Place of birth: Mzimba, Malawi

Date of birth: 27-09-1989

Height: 183cm

Positions: Goal Shooter, Goal Attack

Test caps: 65

Previous clubs: Escom Sisters (Malawi, Peninsula Waves (Australia)

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