By Duncan Mlanjira
British double Olympics champion, Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes, who visited Malawi last October to take part in the Orbis Expeditions ‘Sport with a Purpose’ challenge aimed at raising funds for projects that promote good nutrition in communities, will be back for another expedition also in October.
According to information posted on www.orbis-challenge.com, the aim is to raise funds to support the work of Malawi’s Open Arms and their commitment to preventing malnutrition in children.
During her visit, she and her entourage shall visit various nutritional based projects and learn more about the vital needs for children to have access to at least one good meal a day.
Malawi’s international mountain trail race specialist, Edson Kumwamba, who managed to interact with Dame Holmes when she did her mountain trail expedition in Mulanje last October, says he is going to be part of this year’s event playing the role of an ambassador.
“I have been informed that Dame Kelly Holmes is also trying to help athletes from Malawi and is working hand in hand with Safari RSC, a tourism company doing travel and adventure.”
The Orbis Expeditions is a series of events that includes running through the Mulanje Mountain Porters Race trail, then a cycling one in Zomba at Ku Chawe and the third at Cape Maclear in Monkey Bay that involves kayaking and swimming competitions.
Before the challenge last year, Dame Holmes met and interacted with a range of sports men and women from various sporting disciplines, including former Minister of Sports, Francis Kasaila and other government officials.
The entourag also visited Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and held a sporting masterclass at the College of Medicine Sports Complex to advance issues that are dear to her — maternal health minority sports.
She also participated in a netball tournament featuring several Blantyre-based teams aimed at building sporting links between the UK and Malawi.
During the reception to welcome her at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre where she interacted with Kasaila and other dignitaries, the Dame told the gathering that she had only been in Malawi for just two days but she was already enjoying her stay because all she has been told and learnt about Malawi being the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ had come to pass.
And probably that’s what has prompted her for a repeat because she had said: “I have discovered myself how beautiful Malawi is and am looking forward to seeing the beauty of Lake Malawi and to know more of this country.”
The retired 800m and 1500m athlete, won her Olympic gold medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and she set British records in numerous events and still holds the records over the 600m, 800m and 1000m distances.