Later today the world will watch as Queen Elizabeth II formally opens the 20th commonwealth games in Glasgow, in front of a 40,000 crown at Celtic Park. More than 4,500 athletes from 71 commonwealth nations and territories from around the world will parade during what’s set to be a spectacular curtain raiser.
Over the next 11 days, 17 sports will be competed in, and Zambia has entered 44 athletes to represent our country in 8 different categories. 9 Zambians will compete in athletics, 2 in badminton, 5 in boxing, 4 in judo, an impressive 10 in Lawn bowls, 5 squash players, 6 swimmers and 3 table tennis competitors.
Indeed Zambia has a fruitful history of competing at these games! The country first entered the commonwealth games as North Rhodesia in 1954, but in 1964 we entered at the Tokyo games as North Rhodesia, and left as Zambia. Since then our country has taken part in every games since 1970, apart from 1986. The first Gold medal came at the Christchurch 1974 Commonwealth Games, when Lotti Mwale won the Men’s Light Weight Middleweight title in Boxing. Since then we have won a total of 29 medals, with three gold, eight silvers and 18 bronze. Indeed, at the last games in Dehli, we entered in an impressive 6 different sports, but this time we have upped our game!
Vice-President Guy Scott is currently in Scotland to support our team and watch some of the games before he leaves on Friday. He is joined by his Senior Private Secretary Robert Kamalata, Ministry of Youth and Sport Permanent Secretary Agnes Musunga and First Secretary for the press at the Zambian mission in the UK, Amos Chanda.
Speaking to the athletes in their village, he said that the time was ripe for the athletes to put the country’s sporting reputation in its rightful place. On meeting flyweight boxer Christopher Katanga he said;
‘I have great hope in boxing that it will bring medals, hit them in the ring and in the right place and it is nice to meet you and congratulations.’
He went on to address the team and highlight his bright plans for Zambia’s sporting future;
“I know one day Zambia will host the Commonwealth Games and produce 700 people to compete. A lot depends on determination. We can do tedious work to host the Commonwealth Games,’’
“Scotland’s population is not even one third of Zambia’s population but they are hosting the Commonwealth Games,’’ he said.
Before departing Guy Scott announced that there would be a luncheon hosted for all the Zambian representatives in Lusaka upon their return, he promised to supply a feast with whatever food they wanted, which was received by much applause.
Badminton player Ngosa Chongo gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the team;
“I assure you [Scott] that we will do our level best to prove we deserve to be here [Glasgow]. We are all happy in camp,’’
We wish the best of luck to Team Zambia in their sporting endeavours!