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MBABABE - The Athletics Eswatini (AE) officially launched the Women Challenge to be staged at the OlympiaAfrica Centre in Lobamba later this month.

The challenge was officially declared launched on Wednesday afternoon by Eswatini Sport and Recreation Council (ESRC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Darius Dlomo, who was in the company of AE President Zakhele Dlamini, AE Chairperson of Gender Equality Dr Zebenguni Mkhatshwa and Eswatini Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (EOCGA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maxwell Jele.

Dlomo said they were excited as a council for the Women Challenge that will be staged on September 23. He also said women could perform at the highest level. “We hope that the event is going to go according to plan and we are calling all emaSwati to come enjoy the challenge. We encourage emaSwati to release everyone that is of the female gender and let us pack Lobamba, so that the event can be a great success,” he said.  

He went on to share that women nowadays actually did outperform most men in similar events in some countries.
“If you look at the times in the World Championships, you can actually tell that women can outperform men. It is upon us as umbrella bodies to ensure that we encourage our women to take part in sport,” he added.


AE President Zakhele Dlamini said the women challenge would be a 10km and 5km competition. “We are happy that we were supported by World Athletics in this initiative. We have been given money to host this event and we are happy to announce that with the support from World Athletics for this event, all the participants will join for free. It’s an event only for women and we have engaged schools, especially those participating in sports. We want to make sure that every girl child participates,” Dlamini emphasised.

The president shared that participants needed to register. “We will have race numbers, t-shirts and medals. The registration will give us the information as to how many medals should we prepare as a federation so that every participant gets one. We are also going to use this event to push the gender-based violence (GBV) campaign that has been talked about in the different circles.

“It’s a message that we want to preach on the day, because GBV continues and as such we ask everyone to make use of this event by mobilising anyone who is female to come. We need the males to come and render support to the women who will be running by giving them water and encouraging them,” he said.


EOCGA CEO Maxwell Jele, speaking on behalf of the association, extended his congratulations to AE for the initiative. “We are all aware of the gender issues that we are confronted with, particularly in terms of the promotion of gender equality in sport. We are very happy and excited as ECOGA to be part of this important activity,” he said.
Jele went on to highlight that they had opened their hands for any further assistance that may be required for the race.

Also making remarks was Dr Zebenguni Mkhatshwa, who said the Eswatini Athletics Gender and Equality Committee was looking out for gender balance in sports and life in general. “We just want to bring balance and make sure there is equal participation in sports. We want to have an equal number of female coaches and referees. We are very excited about this event and we are calling all the ladies out there,” she revealed. She appealed for mass participation from the country’s women in the race set to start at 6am on the day. It will act as a preparatory race to the Imbube Marathon on October 1, the fifth edition of the much-loved road race.