Malawi competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which was held from 27 July to 12 August 2012. The country's participation at London marked its ninth appearance in the Summer Olympics since its début at the 1972 Summer Olympics. The delegation included two track and field athletes; Mike Tebulo and Ambwene Simukonda, and one swimmer; Joyce Tafatatha. Tebulo and Simukonda qualified through wildcard places for their respective events. Tebulo was selected as the flag bearer for the opening and closing ceremonies. Tebulo finished 44th in the men's marathon, while Simukonda did not advance beyond the first round of the women's 400 metres. Tafatatha won her heat in the women's 50 metre freestyle but her time was not fast enough to allow her to progress into the semi-finals of the event.
Malawi participated in nine Summer Olympic Games between its début at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. The only occasions in that period which they did not attend was at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1980 Summer Olympics in the Soviet Union, the former because of a boycott relating to the New Zealand national rugby union team touring South Africa, and the latter because the country joined the United States-led boycott over the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan during the Soviet–Afghan War. The highest number of athletes sent by Malawi to a summer Games is 16 to the 1972 Games and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. No Malawian athlete has ever won a medal at the Olympics. Malawi participated in the London Summer Olympics from 27 July to 12 August 2012.
The Malawi National Olympic Committee (NOC) selected three athletes via wildcards. Usually, an NOC would be able to enter up to three qualified athletes in each individual event as long as each athlete met the "A" standard, or one athlete per event if they met the "B" standard. However, since Malawi had no athletes that met either standard, they were allowed to select two athletes, one of each gender, as wildcards. The three athletes that were selected to compete in the London Games were Mike Tebulo in the men's marathon, Ambwene Simukonda in the women's 400 metres and Joyce Tafatatha in the women's 50 metres freestyle. Swimmer Charlton Nyirenda withdrew after being unable to meet the International Olympic Committee preconditions for qualifying for the Olympic Games on solidarity. Tebulo was the flag bearer for both the opening and closing ceremonies. In the run up to the Games, the Malawian team were based at the University of Gloucestershire, and trained in the town of Cheltenham. The team was coached by Francis Munthali, John Kayange and Yona Walesi. Malawi was represented by the country's NOC treasurer Jappie Mhango and Chef De Mission Flora Mwandira.
The 2012 Summer Games marked Mike Tebulo's Olympic début. He was the only male to represent Malawi at the Games and he was 27 years old at the time. Tebulo qualified for the Olympics via a wildcard, as his best time of two hours, 18 minutes and 31 seconds set at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, was 31 seconds slower than the "B" qualifying standard, for his event, the men's marathon. He competed in the men's marathon on 12 August, finishing 44th out of 85th finishers,[a] with a time of two hours, 19 minutes and 11 seconds. As of 2016, the time is his personal best. Tebulo ranked ahead of Arata Fujiwara of Japan (two hours, 19 minutes and 11 seconds) and Slovakia's Primož Kobe (two hours, 19 minutes and 28 seconds) and finished 11 minutes and 17 seconds behind event winner Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda (two hours, eight minutes and one second).
At the age of 28, Ambwene Simukonda made her first appearance at the Olympics, and was the oldest competitor to be selected by the Malawi team. She qualified for the Games via a wildcard, as her best time of 54.32 seconds, was 2.12 seconds slower than the "B" qualifying standard, for her event, the women's 400 metres. Simukonda participated in the event's first round in its fifth heat on 3 August, finishing fifth out of six competitors, with a time of 54:20 seconds, achieving a new Malawian national record. She finished ahead of the final classified finisher of his heat, Danielle Alakija of Fiji (56.77 seconds) in a heat led by Russia's Antonina Krivoshapka (50.75 seconds). Overall Simukonda finished 37th out of 45 athletes,[b] and was eliminated because her time 1.97 seconds slower than the slowest competitor who advanced to the semi-finals.
|Ambwene Simukonda||400 m||54.20 NR||5||Did not advance|
Competing at her first Olympic Games, Joyce Tafatatha was the youngest athlete in Malawi's Olympic history at the age of 14. She, along with Aurélie Fanchette of the Seychelles, were two of the youngest competitors at the London Olympic Games, Tafataha said that despite being nervous, she was looking forward to competing at the Olympics and stated: "It’s going to be so exciting.” She qualified for the Games via a universality place awarded by FINA because her fastest time did not meet the "B" qualifying standard. Tafataha was drawn in the fourth heat of the women's 400 metres which was held on 3 August, finishing first out of seven swimmers, with a time of 27.74 seconds. She recorded a new personal best time which was two seconds faster than her previous fastest, and was the first Malawian athlete to win a heat in the women's 50 metre freestyle. Tafataha ranked ahead of Judith Meauri from Papua New Guinea (27.84 seconds) and Ann-Marie Hepler of the Marshall Islands (28.06 seconds). She finished 46th out of 73 swimmers overall,[c] and despite her victory, she did not progress to the semi-finals, because her time was 2.46 seconds slower than the slowest athlete who advanced to the later stages.
|Joyce Tafatatha||50 m freestyle||27.74||46||Did not advance|