By Mphatso Malidadi
There were mixed fortunes for Malawi at the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games in Maseru, Lesotho, where the country won gold and silver yesterday.
Malawi’s Under-20 National Netball Team wrapped up its Region 5 Youth Games campaign with silver medals after losing 33-26 to South Africa in the final while taekwondo athlete Veronica Manda did the country proud by winning gold.
The loss was the junior Queens’ second at the biennial tournament after an earlier 42-27 thrashing at the hands of South Africa in the preliminary round.
Both teams qualified for the final having scooped the top two slots after preliminary round matches.
South Africa, who bossed the preliminary round with eight points against the junior Queens’ six, also dominated the final.
They narrowly led the first quarter 8-7 and extended their advantage to 19-12 at half time.
Malawi tried to force their way back into the game in the third quarter butSouth Africa held on to finish 28-21.
The South Africans continued with their dominance in the last quarter to wrap up the match with a 33-26 win.
Junior Queens coach Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira said it was pleasing that her charges put up a spirited performance.
“The fighting spirit was there despite the loss and we can only hope for the best going forward. This is an under-18 squad and we are assured that most of the players will still be active for the next two years,” Mtukule- Ngwira said.
Manda’s gold was the first for Malawi at the competition.
According to a Malawi National Council of Sports statement, Manda emerged the best after defeating competitors from eSwathini, Botswana and Lesotho.
“In her first fight, Manda did not give her opponent from eSwathini any chance and won by 37 points against 11. Her performance compelled World Anti-Doping Agency officials to delay her next fight for a test to determine whether she had taken any performance enhancing drugs.
“After her test came out negative, Manda was unstoppable as she unleashed terror on her next opponent, winning with a large margin in her second fight. In the third and last match, Manda’s opponent could not stand her as she displayed mesmerising skills and won the fight by a technical knockout to claim the first gold for Team Malawi,” the statement reads.
The country also registered success in boxing, where athletes scooped five bronze medals through Joseph Sean (46-48kgs), Joseph Kanyinji (48-51kgs), Redson Patson (51- 54kgs), Louis Mbewe (60-63 kgs) and Ivy Mkandawire (45- 48kgs).