18 February 2019

Botswana: More Women Taking Part in Rough Sports

Oodi — Women are tearing up their feminine schedules and replacing them with activities that have always been deemed to be rough, and for men only.

Such activities are challenging yet breathtaking, physically advantageous and leave women wanting to experience more.

One such activity is off-road bike riding, which is said to be attracting more females than males.

Nowel Kalizangoma, the manager of Off-road Extreme Botswana, said they had seen a large number of 18-35 year-olds and that surprisingly the majority were women.

He explained in an interview that crowds were smaller when they started towards the end of 2018, but that they were getting more people enjoying the facilities.

Boitumelo Mpaleng, a first time rider, explained that she came all the way from Kanye to Oodi for the activity.

"Seeing males overtake me almost made me quit during my first lap, but once I had the hang of it, I increased the bike speed and raced with them," she said proudly.

It was a confidence booster for Mpaleng as she said women were not confident in the decisions they made.

She said she did not allow herself to feel powerless, but instead explored her strength and what she did not know she was capable of, and was able to complete all the three laps she had paid for.

There is a rule that if any participant causes an accident, they get disqualified from the laps they paid for, so this makes it more challenging and makes the participants more focused.

Kelefeng Molefe could not hold her enthusiasm as she talked about the experience she had.

"I love that the machines are automatic and so you don't need prior experience to ride and safety concerns are low, enabling one to enjoy without being too cautious," she said.

For her, it was an opportunity to keep her body active and disconnecting from her everyday life, enjoying a new environment.

She left the place feeling livelier and she said she was looking forward to more group cohesion with her friends through such activities.

Tlotlo Mosekaphofu, who had come with his sisters, said he was impressed to see women dominating a place which was expected to have more males.

"I have never raced with females until today, and I am left in awe because there was a point during the final lap where I had to race as though I was doing it with other men," said Mosekaphofu.

He said he was proud to see women engaging in outdoor sports and having fun.

"It is beautiful to see that more females have detached from gendered norms that limited their inclusiveness in physical activities that could improve their wellbeing and keep them fit," he said.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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