Kenyan athlete hails Phikwe Marathon
The winner of the 42.2km race of the Orange Phikwe National Marathon in the ladies category, Monica Jepkorir Mengich from Kenya has hailed the marathon as well organised. She has however noted that the ladies category was not very competitive as after the 25km stretch she was alone without anyone threatening to go past her until she crossed the finish line.
“The race was well organised with adequate route markings and the water points were nicely spaced. The only problem was that the race was not very competitive as compared to other marathons across the world where I have participated. Here there was no one following me at close proximity after just 25km,” said the diminutive runner who crossed the line over ten seconds ahead of runner-up, Thabitha Tsatsa from Zimbabwe.
Mangich (34) clocked 2:55:33 in her first Phikwe Marathon race ahead of the 45 years old Tsatsa who clocked 2:55:52 to retain her position from the last two years where she trailed behind Botswana’s golden girl of long distance races, Onneile Dintwe who this time around was outcompeted and finished on position four.
Dintwe’s performance flopped again this year at Diacore Marathon where she failed to defend her championship, ending the race on the fourth position. Mantshapelo Badumetse who finished on position four last year improved her time to get position three with a time of 2:57:34, a minute and seven seconds ahead of Dintwe who clocked 2:58:41. Dintwe last year ran 2:51:48 to defend the championship she claimed in 2016.
In the men’s category of 42.2km, Nkosiyazi Sibanda from Zimbabwe defended his title to ensure that foreigners dominate Orange Phikwe National Marathon. He ran 2:21:24, with only two seconds time difference between him and the runner-up, Rapula Diphoko. Another foreign runner, Kirwa Korir clocked 2:21:54 to claim position three. Both Sibanda and Diphoko last year clocked better times as Sibanda finished first with 2:20:41 while Diphoko finished fourth with 2:21:10. This shows that this year’s race was a bit slower than the previous one.
Foreigners again dominated the 15km race with Sibusiso Nzima claiming the championship with 46 minutes and 55 seconds running time in the men’s category. Amantle Kekganetswe (47:26) and Sesebo Matlapeng (47:41) got position two and three respectively. Kekganetswe was a minute slower than last year notwithstanding finishing third while Matlapeng on the other hand did better last year in terms of recorded time although finishing sixth. He recorded 47:19, a better time than he did this year on position three.
In the ladies category, foreigners scooped the first two positions. Rudo Mhoderwa and Rutendo Nyahora ran 55 minutes and 34 seconds as well as 55 minutes and 46 seconds to take position one and two respectively. Kefilwe Galeitsiwe came third having ran 58 minutes and six seconds. None of last year’s runners made it to the podium finish.
The 10km race which is reserved for juniors aged between 12 and 19 years old, was won by last year’s runner-up, Gaodumele Amogelang (31:41) while Rantsho Thuso improved his record to move from last year’s position three to position two this year with 31:41 running time. Lopang Oontse took position three after running 33 minutes, 57 seconds.
Lame Nare defended her title in the ladies category with a record time of 37:24, an improvement from last year’s 39:36. Oratile Rose Nowe moved up from position four last year with 41:45 to position two this year recording a better time of 37 minutes, 58 seconds. Laone Moloi recorded 38:36 to get bronze. The 10km race is the only one which saw an improvement of recorded running time in all top three positions.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.
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The National Stadium will be lit up with fireworks on April 29, 2023, as some of the best international athletes will participate in the maiden Botswana Grand prix.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”