ZAMBIA National Service (ZNS) commandant Lieutenant General Maliti Solochi has promoted 400m Africa and Commonwealth Games champion Muzala Samukonga to the rank of Sergeant for winning a gold medal at the just ended 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom.

The 19 year old Samukonga defied all odds, clocking a time of 44.66 to beat England’s Hudson Smith to win a gold medal at the games.

Speaking when he addressed the athletes, Lt. Gen. Solochi commended Muzala for making the country and ZNS proud.

Solochi said Samukonga put the country and ZNS on the world map through his display despite facing numerous challenges during preparations.

“Our colleagues (in Europe) have taken sports as a form of livelihood. It has created employment for coaches and agents. As a service we are proud of Samukonga and as a sign of appreciation have decided to promote the young man,” Solochi said.

Solochi said ZNS does not delay in rewarding deserving sports personalities with employment.

“We have to do something nice for you. On behalf of Zambians and on behalf of the President Hakainde Hichilema who is the Commander-in-chief, I am promoting you to sergeant. You sacrificed your all and we feel happy that you really gave your best to put Zambia on the world Map,” he said.

The commandant urged Samukonga and other athletes who were in attendance to aspire for gold medals even in the upcoming international engagements.

Solochi urged Muzala and other athletes such as boxer Patrick Chinyemba who minted bronze at the Commonwealth Games, runner David Mulenga and others to become role models in the community.

He urged them to remain disciplined and continue being good ambassadors whenever they represented mother Zambia.

Solochi further warned athletes against getting big headed and forgetting where they are coming from.

Samukonga’s gold medal was Zambia’s first medal in athletics at a global stage in 30 years after Samuel Matete won gold at the 1988 Olympics.