Voting for the IWGA Athlete/Team of the Year 2015
Mwai Kumwenda Tops the Polls
And the winner is… Mwai Kumwenda from Malawi. The 26-year-old netball player was elected as our IWGA Athlete of the Year 2015. She topped the poll with a huge 17,910 votes.
The Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany was ranked second (9,168 votes). Third place went to the Russian dancesport couple, Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova (7,722 votes). A trophy will be awarded to Mwai Kumweda in cooperation with the International Netball Federation.
The Athlete (or Team) of the Year was elected by online voting from 1 until 31 January. Supporters and friends of The World Games could cast a vote for their preferred top athlete / team of 2015. The shortlist comprised the 18 athletes / teams nominated by the IWGA member federations.
Mwai Kumwenda received strong support not only from the netball community but also from lots of other sports fans in Africa. “I feel so excited and honoured that so many people around the world have voted for me - I really appreciate this,” she said after receiving the good news of her success.
Ms. Kumwenda is Africa’s only netballer competing in the ANZ Championship – the world’s most prestigious netball league. Mwai Kumwenda first played netball aged 15, in her village in Malawi. She is now one of the stars of the international game. Last year she was awarded the Player of the Tournament title for the Netball World Cup Sydney 2015. She was the only player to score over 300 goals.
During the voting period Mwai Kumwenda went ahead right from the start and extended her lead day by day. The runners-up, the Flying Disc Beach Ultimate Mixed Team from Germany finally edged ahead in a tight race against the dancers Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova from Russia.
Germany’s Flying Disc Beach Team, IWGA Team of the Month for March 2015, spoiled the USA’s clean sweep at the WFDF World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU) in Dubai. Germany secured one title with its win in the mixed gender division and took its first gold medal ever in WFDF-sanctioned World Championship Ultimate play.
Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova won the 2015 World Championship Standard in Vilnius, Lithunia, on 21 November. It was on that exact same day 13 years earlier that the two had started to dance together. Eight days later they won the 2015 GrandSlam Final in Shanghai, China, as well.
It was the third time that the IWGA had staged a vote for the Athlete of the Year. “After the highly successful voting in 2014 and 2015 we saw even more worldwide interest from the fans to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding athletes. We are more than satisfied that so many people voted for their athletes and teams”, explained IWGA President José Perurena.
The final rankings: The World Games Athlete of the Year 2015