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Mwawi Kumwenda on top of the world

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At last the queen has been declared. She will rule the world for the next year. Her name is Mwawi Kumwenda, and she is proudly Malawian.

Announcing the final results on its website Wednesday, the International World Games Association (IWGA) wrote: “And the winner is… Mwawi Kumwenda from Malawi. The 26-year-old netball player was elected as our IWGA Athlete of the Year 2015. She topped the poll with a huge 17,910 votes.”

The Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany came second on 9,168 votes. Third place went to Russian dance sport couple, Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova at 7,722.

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During the voting period the netball icon went ahead right from the start and extended her lead day- by-day.

She received strong support not only from the netball community, but also from other sports fans in Africa, according to the website.

“I feel so excited and honoured that so many people around the world have voted for me – I really appreciate this,” she said after receiving the good news of her success.

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Mwawi is Africa’s only netballer competing in the ANZ Championship in New Zealand – the world’s most prestigious netball league. She plays for Tactix.

The runners-up, the Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany finally edged ahead in a tight race against the dancers, Zharkov and Kulikova.

Germany’s Flying Disc Beach Team, IWGA Team of the Month for March 2015, spoiled the USA’s clean sweep at the WFDF World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU) in Dubai. Germany secured one title with its win in the mixed gender division and took its first gold medal ever in WFDF-sanctioned World Championship Ultimate play.

Zharkov and Kulikova won the 2015 World Championship Standard in Vilnius, Lithunia, on 21 November. It was on that exact same day 13 years earlier that the two had started to dance together. Eight days later they won the 2015 GrandSlam Final in Shanghai, China, as well.

IWGA president José Perurena thanked all voters across the world for their interest in voting throughout the one month period of polling.

“After the highly successful voting in 2014 and 2015, we saw even more worldwide interest from the fans to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding athletes. We are more than satisfied that so many people voted for their athletes and teams,” he concluded.

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