Dawn Staley, a three -time Olympic gold medallists with the US national women’s basketball team, has lived to her pledge to construct basketball courts in some parts of the country.
According to US Embassy public affairs officer Edward J. Monster, Staley made the promise when she visited Malawi in 2006 on a Sports Diplomacy programme.
“The U.S. Embassy is delighted that Dawn Staley’s promise to give the youth in Malawi an opportunity to play the game of basketball has been realised. I am honoured to officially open these two new basketball courts in Lilongwe and Blantyre for the benefit of the local youth,” he said on Sunday when he handed over the court at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports to the Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal).
Monster said a group of youths had asked her to help build more basketball courts so that they could play the sport.
“She raised $50 000 from generous American citizens who contributed to the project. This is your basketball court. It’s your responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t get vandalised. Some day in the future, Dawn will return to Malawi and you want her to see that the court is still in good condition,” he said.
The court in Blantyre, built at Zingwangwa Centre, was completed in July 2017.
Basmal president Hamlet Kamtengeni said the organisation is grateful to Staley and the US Embassy as the courts will give opportunity to surrounding youths to learn the sport.
He appealed to well-wishers to emulate Staley’s example. n