Winning medalists Kachepa and fellow International Master Enock Banda
* As she attains 5 gold medals at African Regional Championship in Zambia
* The other medals were two silver and two bronze and out of 12 gold medals, Team Malawi scooped 5 — Zambia won 3, Russia 3 and Uganda 1
By Duncan Mlanjira
Team Malawi has brought back nine medals from the 3rd Series of the African regional Draughts Championship in Lusaka, Zambia — 5 of which were gold medals attained by Susan Kachepa on her first international participation that earned her automatic title of International Master awarded by the International Draughts Federation president himself from Russia, Jacek Pawlicki.
And this was also the first time to include women in the Championship in its 3rd Series, thus Kachepa is the first-ever African female International Master. Team Malawi were represented by two other females, Emma Matias and Ruth Kayesa Magombo
The other medals were two silver and two bronze and out of 12 gold medals available at the tournament, Team Malawi scooped 5 — Zambia won 3, Russia 3 and Uganda 1. Other participating countries were Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Kenya; Zimbabwe; South Africa while Ethiopia and Ghana failed to attend due to Visa hiccups.
Malawi also attained a new title of Federation Master by James Sobobana Gama after he attained overall 6th position to add on to the country’s other title holders — International Masters Enock Banda & Moses Winesi and Federation Master Madalitso Thom.
Malawi National Council of Sports organised a special welcome home function on Monday at their offices at Chichiri in Blantyre, where Malawi Draughts Association general secretary, Suzgo Alpha Nkhoma said the African Series were introduced in 2016, which were first hosted by Zambia before Malawi being given the honours in 2018.
It took a long break due to CoVID-19 and on its return, it included women participation, in which Malawi’s 15-member squad had three.
The tournament also includes World Cup Stage Match in which the International Federation assesses Africans’ performance and in the past two series, the world governing body monitored online but this time around it was graced by the Federation’s president Pawlicki.
Nkhoma explained that Pawlicki was particularly impressed with Susan Kachepa’s performance, especially when pitted against men in the World Cup Stage matches, thus crowning her as first African female International Master.
In her remarks, Sports Council’s Board member Helene Tasosa — who is chairperson of the Council’s sports development committee — said she was at a loss of words to describe the euphoria she has over the achievements — especially for Kachepa in her debut international outing.
“You have brought roses to us,” she said. “I am speechless — nine medals; two silver; two bronze and five gold medals from one person! I’ve never heard of that!
“You have made us all proud and this is what we have always said that our mandate is to promote sports with equal opportunities but we do take an extra mile when member associations bring good results as you have done.
“When a sports association bring good results like this we always make sure we give the the right welcome so that the whole nation should know of the achievements. What you have done will market the sport so much that other people will be interested to join.”
On his part, acting Sports Council Executive Secretary, Shephord Boma said time has come to invest in individual sport as of late it is bringing more medals and encouraged the Draughts Association to build on the achievement to expose themselves for support from the corporate world.
“You have set a strong foundation to market yourself for better support and for the interest of others who are playing this game as a pastime,” he said.