Friday, December 3, 2021

The year is female: Let’s toast to that

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invisible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings,” quote from Ariana Daucu.

Despite the hurdles that came with corona virus, 2021 has surely been a good year for sports women in Botswana.

Congratulations are in order for Magdeline Moyengwa who has just qualified for the Tokyo 2020/21 Olympics.

The lass made history as she became the first Motswana to qualify for the Olympics under weightlifting, both male and female. 

Her qualification for the Tokyo showpiece now takes the number of females who qualified for the Olympics to five, a new record for the country.

Moyengwa follows on the footsteps of history makers such as Keamogetse Kenosi, who also became the first Motswana woman to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics from boxing. 

Other local ladies to have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics are Amantle Montsho, Christine Botlogetswe and Galefele Moroko from athletics. 

The last time Botswana had a large number of women qualifying for the Olympics was in 2016 when it sent three women to participate in the summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  

In the absence of the pioneering Montsho at the Rio Olympics, it was Christine Botlogetswe, Lydia Jele and Naomi Ruele who were the flag bearers for Botswana.

Before then, Montsho, who is the first Motswana woman to qualify for the Olympics, had also been the country’s sole women standard flagbearer at the Athens 2004 and London 2012 Olympics.

“This year, women in sport is making history in so many ways. Indeed, it is women’s year,” sports activist Game Mothibi observed. 

She said despite being hard hit by effects of Covid-19, women continue to work hard. “We have qualified 5 women to compete at Olympics for the first time in history of Botswana, making 45% of the team. That’s a first,” she said. 

“At one point we had more women in the team than men, before the 4x400m relay qualified. We have 2 women coming from sport that are usually described at men’s sport,” Mothibi observed. 

She said the achievements of women for the Tokyo Olympics have extended beyond just athletes as other Batswana women will play a role at the Olympics.

“We have a woman official who qualified to officiate in tennis Competitions at Olympics and we have a woman from Botswana engaged by Olympic Broadcasting services for Tokyo 2020.  All these are commendable, hopefully it translates to growth of women and sport in our country,” said Mothibi.

“This is history in the making and it should be basis for sport leaders to make a case for women’s sport, that if it’s given equal support, even more, if women are given support according to their needs, if the country get to realise that women have more to give to our sport, then Government should now re-focus and invest more on women and sport,” she opined. 

“Who knows, maybe that glory we had long waited for it will come from women’s sport. We can only know if we start giving women in sport needed attention. The time is now,” concluded Mothibi.

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