Malawian-born swimmer wins gold at Olympics

In what can be described as consolation for Malawi, a country ranked as perennial underachievers in sports on the global stage, a 20-year-old Australian swimmer who was born in the country has won gold at the ongoing London 2012 Olympic Games.

Cate Campbell who was born in Blantyre on May 20 1992, won gold at the weekend in women’s 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay swimming.

The Australian swimmer, who also won two bronze medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, confirmed to the BBC that she was born and raised in Blantyre, Malawi.

Her family to Australia in 2001 when she was nine years old and it was shortly after this that Cate took up competitive swimming.

Youth Development and Sports Minister Enoch Chakufwa Chihana said local athletes can draw a lot of inspiration from Campbell.

“Of course she is not a Malawian and we cannot brag about her success, but the fact that she was born and raised up in our country should be a source of solace and hopefully our athletes can also draw a lot of inspiration from her success.

“Her success should be a source of motivation to our own athletes. Let me take this opportunity to also appeal to the corporate world to consider investing in sports so that our athletes can be able to win medals,” said Chihana.

Campbell told BBC that the most exciting thing about becoming an Olympic champion was that she will now appear on postage stamps in her country.

“I think this was the thing I was most excited about,” she told a news conference in a fit of giggles after her triumph.

According to the BBC, each Australian gold medallist at the London Games gets to be on the Australia post stamp and stands to receive 20 900 pound sterling (about K10.5 million) for their image rights.

In 2007, she went to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney and won two gold medals in the 50 metres individual freestyle and 4×100 metres freestyle relay.

She followed this up in 2008 with a victory in the 50 metres freestyle at the Japan Open, beating compatriot Libby Trickett and setting new Australian and Commonwealth records with her time of 24.48 seconds.

She currently studies at Kenmore State High School in Brisbane, Queensland. Cate is the eldest of five siblings. Her sister Bronte is also a promising swimmer and the pair will compete in the same event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

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