Malawi’s netball icon Mwawi Kumwenda is leading the votes for International World Games Association (IWGA) 2015 Athlete of the Year Award.
According to an article published by IWGA website on January 14, with almost two weeks before voting closes, Mwawi led the 18 nominees’ list with 3 035 votes, followed by Russian dance couple Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova with 2 488 votes whereas the third place is currently held by the Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany with 1 570 votes.
“However, nothing has been decided yet. Friends and fans of a particular sport, athlete or team can still cast their vote on a daily basis. Those who know how to mobilise their supporters can still come out on top. Voting closes on January 31st.
“The title race is still open. When it comes to choosing the IWGA Athlete/Team of the Year, the decisive vote has not yet been cast. Until January 31st, supporters can still help their favourite athlete(s) win by voting on our website: www.theworldgames.org,” reads part of the report.
Mwawi was nominated for her vintage performance at the 2015 Netball World Cup where her sheer quality shone like a beacon and was named Player of the Tournament.
Mwawi, who has since travelled back to her New Zealand base, said she is excited at the development.
“I am so excited that I am leading in the first 10 days of voting with quite a considerable margin.
“I just want to encourage my fans and all Malawians of goodwill to keep on voting because this is not only about me but the nation and I thank those that have voted for me,” said Mwawi in an interview from New Zealand yesterday.
Asked about her chances of winning, the 26-year-old gangly shooter, who plays for Tactix, said: “I have left it all in the hands of God Almighty. For with God, everything is possible. Let’s keep on voting every day and bring the award home, mother Malawi!”
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) board chairperson James Chuma also urged Malawians to keep on voting for Mwawi.
“The fact that she was nominated was in itself a recognition of excellence. So, I urge the sports fraternity to join the campaign in voting for Mwawi.
“It is an achievement for the country and a confirmation that Malawi has talent in abundance and can excel if well supported,” said Chuma.
Last week, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda also urged Malawians to vote for the Queens’ star.
“As NAM, we are very proud of Mwawi’s achievements . When International Netball Federation (INF) wrote us about the nomination, we were so delighted.
“This is not a mean achievement. There are thousands of athletes around the world from other disciplines, but it’s our Mwawi who got the nomination,” said Chinunda.
Even Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera cast aside his political robe and called on Malawians to vote for the netball star.
IWGA, which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has 36 members including INF.