Chilima welcoming The Queens Baton at Chileka Airport
By Lydia Maganga, MANA
Vice-President Saulos Chilima has urged Malawi Olympic family to find solutions to the country’s perennial failure to win medals at international tournaments.
Speaking when he joined the sports fraternity to welcome Commonwealth Games’ Queen’s Baton for its Relay in Malawi, Chilima said it was time to get serious and go back to the drawing table to try and take a different approach so that the country’s athletes bring medals from international tournaments.
“We need to drop the usual approach and explore other avenues to see that we promote our flag outside the country,” Chilima said after receiving the Queen’s Baton at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre from Tanzanian envoys where it finished its official relay run.
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, urged Malawians to change the approach of business as usual, saying “our performance has not been encouraging at the Commonwealth Games compared to other African countries.
“Other African have managed to improve within the years and have brought trophies to their respective countries,” he said, while encouraging Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) to get into serious planning of 2022 Games so that they win and make Malawians proud.
“Considering that the 2022 Commonwealth Games are now drawing closer, let us get serious by practising and planning so that we at least bring some trophies home,” he said, while pledging government’s commitment to the Commonwealth Games and its activities.
MOC president Jappie Mhango said it was a great honour for Malawi to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay, which is expected to be showcased in the country for three days.
It will then be taken to Zambia on Thursday, November 19. On its journey to Malawi, The Queen’s Baton was presented to Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan by Filbert Bayi, who is secretary general for that country’s Olympic Committee.
A report by insidethegames.biz said Bayi is a man who holds a place never to be forgotten in Tanzania’s Commonwealth Games lore as he is remembered for his epic race with New Zealand’s John Walker at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch when he set a world record 3min 32.16sec.
The Tanzania President is reported to have said the role Bayi has played to present the Baton to her was “a wakeup call to regain lost glory”.
At Chileka Airport, Mhango said the Queen’s Baton has always been paraded in Lilongwe but this year they decided to shift the auspicious occasion to Blantyre for the first time.
Spicing the ceremony was a demonstration netball game, a boxing fight and judo.
Some of the sporting disciplines that have qualified from Malawi for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom include netball, boxing and marathon.
The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay set off in Birmingham last month an epic journey across the Commonwealth’s 72 nations and territories, reaching Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas.
The Relay began after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton and will then
travel for 294 days, connecting communities in every corner of the Commonwealth, embracing unique cultures and sharing stories.
“This collective journey will ignite hope, solidarity and collaboration for the next generation, with these stories leaving us all inspired to take on the challenges that matter most to us,” said birmingham2022.com.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express