Youth and Sports Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda has described the 2022 African Union Sports Council Region 5 Games as a huge success.
The Games officially ended at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday night and were the first big international multi-discipline sports event to be held in the country.
Team Malawi finished sixth on the 10-team table with 44 medals while South Africa came out tops, having collected 114. The medals include those that were forfeited from Team Malawi.
Chimwendo Banda said it was exciting to conclude the Games with all planned activities having taken place.
“Organising this competition was never easy but we just had to do it. It was a question of working day and night with little time to sleep. We can proudly say the Games have passed off without any incident. We thank God for granting us this special moment.
“We are a country with a president [Lazarus Chakwera] who loves sports so much and he guided us very well throughout the competition. The attendance was also very impressive and we thank all Malawians. It was our first time to host a tournament of this magnitude and we have passed the test with flying colours,” he said.
Chimwendo Banda said the competition has also helped the country erect the right infrastructure for hosting big international competitions.
“Officials from countries that came to take part in the competition are still congratulating us for a successful hosting of the event. They applauded us for constructing international standard facilities which were in use during the games. We are now geared to host more international competitions,” he said.
The minister said the Games have also contributed to the economy as they have boosted business in various sectors such as tourism, transportation, food and accommodation.
Malawi National Football Team legend Peterkins Kayira said Malawi should devise strategies for maintaining both the structures and the athletes.
“There should be continuity. The facilities have indeed changed the face of the capital city and we should all be proud. The next step should now be making sure that the structures do not become white elephants. We should also find ways of maintaining the performance of the young athletes who have won us medals,” Kayira said.
The Games’ final medal table indicates that Malawi clinched eight gold, 10 silver and 26 bronze medals.
Angola came second with 45 medals (18 gold) while Zambia were third, having amassed 62 medals.
Zimbabwe and Botswana finished fourth and fifth with 84 and 47 medals, respectively. Lesotho, Namibia, eSwatini and Mozambique shared positions seven, eight, nine and 10 in that order.
The athletes competed in athletics, boxing, basketball, football, gymnastics, swimming, judo, volleyball, tennis, netball, taekwondo and e-sports.