Thursday, April 25, 2024

Women participation tops agenda at Vunani Annual Botswana Women Sport Awards

Increasing women and girls’ participation in sport was top of the agenda during the second edition of the Vunani Annual Botswana Women Sport Awards this past weekend.

The awards took place the Botswana Football Association (BFA)’ Lekidi Grounds. Among dignitaries at the awards were the Minister of Sports Tumiso Rakgare, government officials, captains of the industries and sports administrators.

In his speech, Rakgare highlighted that initiatives such as the Women sport awards contribute a lot towards ‘a gender inclusive sporting world.’ He said embarking on these initiatives puts Botswana among countries that are ‘determined to end gender inequalities in our sports.’ 

The Minister went on to add that local research has shown that Botswana has extremely talented female athletes. While they often deliver exceptional results, ‘they are profiled less, less celebrated and minimally rewarded, compared to their male folk.’ 

“Initiatives like the Vunani Annual Women Sports Awards will certainly propel us, as a country, to close this gap between men and women in sports,” Rakgare observed. “I absolutely believe that recognising them through this platform is befitting.” 

The sports minister however cautioned that Botswana still has a long way to go to ensure a lot still needs to be done to ensure Botswana ‘is counted amongst the best in gender parity within the sports fraternity.’ 

He pointed out that this was revealed in a baseline study on participation of Women and Girls in Sport in Botswana conducted by Women and Sports Botswana in collaboration with the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) in 2017 and a follow up study post the 7th IWG Conference in 2022.

Rakgare said the study indicated that participation of girls and women in the country is very low, sitting at between 2-39.1% across the sporting codes at association level. 

For her part, WASBO chairperson Keenese Katisenge-Tizhani said the significance of the awards cannot be overstated more especially ‘when we consider the statistics on women and girls participation in sports.’ 

She reiterated Rakgare’s statement that ‘there is still a significant disparity between men and women in leadership and coaching positions in sports.’ “This is why these awards are so important. They not only celebrate the achievements of women in sports, but also highlight the need for continued efforts to promote gender equality in the sports sector,” the WASBO chairperson said.

“By supporting and empowering female athletes, coaches, and leaders, we are not just celebrating their successes but also paving a way for a more inclusive sporting fraternity, even locally,” Katisenge-Tizhani said.

At the awards, Botswana Senior Ladies National team, the Mares and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies team forward was crowned the Sportswoman of the Year, while the Mares won the Team of the Year award. Sportswoman of the Year with Disability award went to Mmakgosi Lydia Tlhakanelo.

Another notable winner was Sethunya Buhle Majama who walked away with the Young Promising Female Athlete. In the umpire of the year category, FIBA accredited Dorothy Okatch made it two in a row.

In other categories, Katlego Daphne Rakobe was awarded Administrator of the Year, Nnaniso Magwaba Coach of the Year award, HeForShe award went to Ofentse Bakwadi, Game Mothibi got the Courage Award while Thuso Nthule was voted Volunteer of the Year.

In the media section, The Telegraph and Sunday Standard reporter Anita Rannoba scooped the Print Sports Journalist of the Year. Other winners were Neo Skillo Aabobe for Radio Sports Journalist of the Year, Motlalepula Darkin TV Sports Journalist of the Year and Kennedy Ramokone got the Photographer of the Year award.

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