Zambia’s 2022 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Muzala Samukonga was emotional on arrival at Kenneth Kaunda Airport in Lusaka and could not publicly speak.
Samukonga and other members of team Zambia arrived back home from Birmingham, England on Thursday and were given a thunderous welcome by fans.
The 400m champion kept on looking down while shedding tears as fans cheered team Zambia which won three medals at the Birmingham games.
Zambia Athletics Association President Elias Mpondela urged the crowd that included Ministry of Sports Permanent Secretary Chileshe Kangwa and journalists that Muzala rarely speaks.
“My son, I would like to thank you and thank your parents for the discipline. He has unusual discipline. He is quiet. If he doesn’t speak to you it is not because he can’t speak. He can but he is normally taken by emotions and I would like you to forgive him even today he may not speak but we will create an opportunity where he can speak,” Mpondela said.
He said Muzala’s achievement at the Commonwealth Games was catapulted by ZAA’s investment in athletics.
Mpondela branded Samukonga as a gem of an athlete.
“The story of our re-focusing agenda to develop athletics in the country is best told by Muzala. That is the story has taken me so long and yet it is the story hidden from many of you and yet in the back we have been busy trying to invest. And all of you who have been supporting the Inter-company relay, the corporate, I would like to thank you. Little do people know that we camped this young man and others for over three months and hid him from all over? I think the nation doesn’t know him but in the family of athletics we know him. In Mauritius, he won the championship. He is an African champion of 400m,” Mpondela said.