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Sports

Night of light

Region 5 Youth Games launched in style

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NIGHT TO REMEMBER—Chakwera (right) and Nyusi

Amid fascinating sights, sounds and pomp, the 10th edition of the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games officially got underway at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe last night.

Indeed, it was a night to remember. The night was so special.

The atmosphere at the Bingu National Stadium was terrific, befitting the grand opening of the Games. Surely, Malawi wrote its own piece of history last night for hosting the Games for the first time.

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Two helicopters flying flags for the host country and the AUSC were a great sight to the huge crowd. Fireworks were also the order of the night.

That was not all, popular local musician Eli Njuchi dished out his best to entertain the crowd. It was a colourful ceremony.

Looking sporty, President Lazarus Chakwera and his Mozambique counterpart Filipe Nyusi officially opened the Games.

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To mark the official opening of the Games, Chakwera conducted the lighting of the cauldron.

In his opening remarks, Chakwera said sports is more than playing games as it also encompasses development of the people and strengthening their mind to achieve greatness.

“Malawi is therefore honoured to host you here. Our economy may be small, but we are a generous people. Our problems may be many, but our hospitality is heartfelt. That is why we have made sure to allocate adequate resources for preparations and hosting the Games including construction of sports facilities,” Chakwera said.

The Region 5 Games are held every two years on rotational basis.

Mozambique is expected to host the 2024 Games. Speaking earlier, Nyusi hailed Malawi for hosting the Games despite several challenges countries are facing.

“Malawi has set a good example. It was not easy but Malawi has delivered,” Nyusi said.

Taking his turn, Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda said the government invested a lot in the Games and he also hailed Chakwera for the support.

Region 5 Chief Executive Officer Stanley Mutoya said the Games will leave a long lasting legacy.

“The Games are finally here. Congratulations to Malawi for working hard to host the Games,” Mutoya said.

Local Organising Committee (Loc) Chairperson Dennis Mombera said the Region 5 Youth Games are a catalyst for unity among countries.

“The journey to host the event was a mixed bag. Sports brings people together. Sports has power to change the society,” Mombera said.

This is the first time for Malawi to host the Games since they were introduced in 2004. The inaugural Games were held in Maputo, Mozambique.

Since then, the games have become the region’s flagship multi-sport event.

Region 5 countries Angola, Botswana, Comoros Islands, Mozambique, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, eSwatini, South Africa, Lesotho are taking part in the games.

For a period of 10 days, the athletes will compete in various sporting codes including football, netball, boxing, athletics, judo, taekwondo and basketball.

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