THE endurance and patriotism of sportswomen sometimes without financial support is incomparable and has seen Zambia tick on the world map, says Zambia Judo Association (ZJA) president Alfred Foloko.
Foloko, speaking to the Daily Nation on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, said the association values women as they are a source of medals and will therefore endeavor to give equal opportunities to promote gender equality. “I greatly value women in sport. The former ZJA president Matildah Mwaba did a lot for judo to reach this far and become a popular sport in Zambia. Today we are able to boast of medals because of the time and effort she put in. We have great female judokas that are winning medals for Zambia.
“Esther Sando gave Zambia the only medal in judo at the 2015 African Games when all men came back empty. Nokutula Banda, Mary Kanyemba and Abigail Chindele have continued to fly the (Zambian) flag high. The women judokas have fared better than our men. They are determined to dominate what seemed to be a man’s sport,” he said. He said the determination exhibited by the female judokas has prompted the association to invest in women as coaches, referees and administrators.
“We believe women administrators are capable of bringing development to the sport. They are rarely corrupt and believe in good governance. Mama Hamoonga is an International Judo Federation coach while Misozi Daka and Carol Mwengwa are continental referees,” Foloko said. Meanwhile, Handball Association of Zambia (HAZ) president Victor Bwalya-Banda said it was sad that some sports associations gave priority to men whenever sponsorship was available.
“I believe women should also be given an opportunity to prove themselves in various international engagements. I urge fellow administrators to help women enhance their talent. How many times our men have in different sports failed at international tournaments, yet we say they are gaining experience? ‘‘Then let the women gain experience too. They have the ability to give Zambia the medals,” Banda said.
This year’s women day celebrations were held under the theme ‘‘Planet 50-50by 2030: Step up for gender equality’’.