The participation and progress of women in both local and international sport is a testimony that they can outperform men, a senior Government official has said.
By Tongai Mwenje
Speaking at a function organized by the Harare City Council, Minister of Sport and Recreation Hon Makhosini Hlongwane ignited a very interesting debate likely to receive mixed feelings amongst scores of sport supporters across the country.
The minister said history and achievements have clearly demonstrated that given a chance girls and women can actually do better than their male counterparts.
“Women are far more visible in sports today than at any previous point in history and that has accorded them an opportunity to showcase their talents,” he said.
Hlongwane said the participation of women and girls in sports has given man a torrid time in the sport constituency which was previously dominated by man. In his speech, the minister gave examples of the Mighty Warriors, the Zimbabwe under 21 national hockey team and the under 21’s National Netball Team.
The Mighty Warriors are the second team since the golden hockey girls of 1980 to participate at the global sporting gathering. The hockey side won gold in the tournament.
The women’s soccer squad are the only team to qualify for the Olympic Games as the hockey side did not take part in the qualifiers but went to Moscow by invitation after some countries boycotted the Games.
The Zimbabwe Under-21 women’s national hockey team is currently in Chile for the Junior World Cup after booking a place in the prestigious Global competition back in March this year.
Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Under 21 national netball team also booked its first ever World Cup qualification to be played next year in Botswana which will feature twenty teams across the globe.
The unparalleled achievements by the girl child are evidence that women are better than men who apparently have not made history in the Global competitions.
Globally, the equestrian events are some of the few where women compete against men (the other sport is sailing), and women have medalled in all three individual categories — show-jumping, eventing, and dressage.
Female jockeys have also beat men in racing — Julie Krone won the Belmont Stakes in 1993.
In tennis, Billie Jean King famously beat Bobby Riggs in a 1973 match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes.” King was 26 and Riggs was 55, but her victory was still hailed as a blow to sexism.
New York Times reporter Neil Amdur wrote that “she convinced skeptics that a female athlete can survive pressure-filled situations and that men are as susceptible to nerves as women.”
In 2006, Michaela Hutchison became the first girl to win a state title against boys in high school wrestling.
Kelly Kulick in 2010 became the first woman to win a national tournament on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, when she took first prize in the Tournament of Champions. She beat out 62 of the country’s top male bowlers to win the title.
In 2008, Danica Patrick won the Japan Indy 300, becoming the first woman to win a major auto race.
Lynn Hill became the first person to free-climb the Nose Route on the mountain El Capitan in Yosemite, in 1993.
Meanwhile, Mhlongwane presented awards to more than twelve Harare City Queens players. Patricia Mauladi was the biggest winner in this year’s awards dinner after scooping the Players player Award and player of the year Award.