Updated: Jan 7
We were very excited to learn that three girls would represent Malawi at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Out of a team of 5 athletes, the girls managed to land a spot. The girls are Harriet Boniface (Judo athlete), Jessica Makwenda (swimmer) and, Asimenye Simwaka (marathon runner).
Harriet Boniface is a top female judoka athlete who has been representing Malawi home and abroad. The 28-year old started Judo in 2010 and has traveled the world showcasing her skills in Judo. Her track record proves just how amazing she is. In 2012, she participated in the African Youth Games, where she won a bronze medal, in 2014, she went to Russia for the world Judo championships and in 2018 to Azerbaijan for the World Judo Championships.
In 2019, went to South Africa for the African championships. Harriet has participated in various tournaments in several countries like Morocco, Madagascar, and Senegal. In total, she has ten judo medals. Harriet ranks 90th on the world ranking and fifth in Africa. Her poor background story is one to which many Malawian girls can relate. But where someone would see a reason to quit, she only saw motivation. She tried her best at the Olympics Unfortunately, at the Olympics, she did not manage to qualify for the semifinals.
Jessica Makwenda is a 15-year-old athlete, and at such a young age, she is already setting new records. She is unofficially the youngest African Aquatic representative at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Jessica Competed in the 50M freestyle, in the category of women. She managed to beat her previous record of 29:64 seconds by finishing at 28: 96 seconds. Her presence in the Olympics is a statement on its own. As a country, we should focus and invest in other sports such as swimming.
Asimenye is one of the fastest women in the country who competed at the Olympics. She competed in the women's 100M category. Asimenye came second in the women’s 100M preliminary round heat 3, doing so, she set up a new national record at 11:76 seconds. She proceeded to round 1 and again broke the national record as she finished at 11:68 seconds in the Women’s 100m round 1 heat 1.By doing so, she became the national record holder in the 100,200 and 400 meters at the same time. She finished in position eight but failed to qualify for the semifinals.
Even though these girls will not bring home any medals from the Olympics, we are still very proud of them. They proved themselves worthy of being our flag bearers. Their journey will forever be inspirational to different women and girls in sports and other fields.