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Odds firmly favour Mwawi Kumwenda

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As voting in 2015 International World Games Association (IWGA) Athlete of-the- Year award closes Sunday, Malawi netball superstar, Mwawi Kumwenda, can fancy her chances of lifting the prestigious accolade.

The New Zealand-based shooter has opened an unassailable lead of more than 9,000 votes with her closest rival hence IWGA gave a hint on the potential winning candidate.

“A Win for Africa this time? Five days left to go to vote for the IWGA Athlete of-the Year. Until 31st January supporters can still support their favorite athlete or team by participating in the voting on the website: www.theworldgames.org,” reads the website.

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“Looking at the preliminary results after nearly four weeks of voting, Mwai Kumwenda from Malawi is still leading with 13,655 votes. The 26-year-old netball player has achieved a huge lead on entering the final stretch.”

Second is the Russian dance couple, Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova, who have collected 5,558 votes. The third place currently goes to the Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany (4,457 votes).

Kumwenda is the only African short-listed for the award whose winner will be announced on February 1. A trophy will be awarded in cooperation with the winner’s federation.

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She is also the only black athlete among 18 candidates for the title.

As of Thursday, Mwawi had 15,768 votes, against 6,665 for Olga Kulikova and Dmitry Zhirkov of Russia.

A flying disc mixed ultimate team from Germany was on third position with 6,337 votes.

The current gap is the widest ever in the award’s three-year history and with close to three times her closest rival’s vote count, there seems to be no chance of any of the 17 other nominees catching up.

Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) president, Rosy Chinunda, was excited upon learning of the massive gap that Mwawi had created.

“This is a very big achievement, not just for Mwawi and Nam, but for the whole Malawi. But we should not stop voting. We have a massive lead quite alright, but let us not relax. It is not over yet,” Chinunda said.

Also mobilizing support for Mwawi are mobile phone service provider, Airtel Malawi through their Facebook page.

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