FIRST lady Esther Lungu has appealed to Lafarge and the Zambia Amateur Athletics Association (ZAAA) to involve more people with disabilities in community based health programmes.
Lungu said there was need to ensure that facilities were conducive, reliable and accessible to people with disabilities.
Speaking when she flagged of the event in which she took part in the 5km health walk, the first lady implored Larfarge and ZAA to involve more people with disabilities in events such as the marathon.
“There is need to ensure that facilities are conducive, reliable and accessible to people with disabilities .We need to ensure that people with disabilities are involved at all stages of planning and implementing community physical programmes,” she said.
The first lady however advised the participants to realize that being health was not a one-day event but a lifestyle that should be lived.
“There many aliments that could be linked to lifestyle today and we should endeavor to fight such with everyday exercise. Increasing physical activity is a social, not just an individual problem. It demands a population-based, multi-electoral, multi-disciplinary and culturally relevant approach,” she said.
She commended Lafarge Plc, ZAAA and all the sponsors for coming on board to ensure the marathon was a success.
And minister of Sports Vincent Mwale said Government’s expectations were that the Lafarge Plc will grow the Lafarge marathon to gold medal standing attracting athletes from all over the world and eventually use it as a tool to promote tourism.
“I am happy that the event is not only targeting to raise funds to support charities which Lafarge supports . The marathon is also being used to promote good health among corporate leaders .This enhances productivity and reduces time and medical bills,” he said.
Lafarge Plc chief executive officer Emmanuel Rigaux said the company will endeavor to build a health society resulting into a more productive nation.
“A health nation means a productive nation which concludes to a developed country. Our desire is to see a Zambia with health individuals that can contribute positively to the growth of the nation. We hope to see this marathon grow beyond this,” he said.
Meanwhile Zambia National Service (ZNS) Mathews Mutanyia and Mercy Kalunga yesterday scooped the 2015 Lafarge Lusaka Marathon men’s and women’s 42kilometers race respectively.
Mutanyia emerged victorious after beating over 50 participants in the men’s race timing 2:19:00 hours and pocketing US$1,200 as Savous Maumbi of Green Buffaloes Athletics Club (GBAC) who finished second walked away with US$900 while the third placed McMillian Mwansa got US$750.
Women’s champion Kalunga walked away with US$600 while those trailing behind Namakando Namakando of Zambia Air Force (ZAF) and Nkwazi Nyirenda of Larfage pocketed US$500 and US$400 respectively.
In the 10m category, long distance runner Edward Mwanza won the men’s race with US$600 prize money. ZNS Moono Mukombwe settled for second place and got US$500 while Paul Ngulube got US$400.
The women’s 10m was won by Felistus Chitoshi of Green Eagles with a prize money of US$600, Zambia Sugar Plc runner Josephine Kaleya got US$500 as runner up and third place was scooped by Abigail Mwila of ZNS pocketing US$400.