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Mnangagwa rewards female boxer Chiwandire with US$15,000

by Staff reporter
26 Apr 2022 at 08:09hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday cheered the spirits of female boxer Kudakwashe "Take Money" Chiwandire with a US$15 000  reward for her exploits after winning the World Boxing Council Interim Super-Bantamweight world champion in February.

The 26-year-old pugilist posted a judges' decision victory over the fancied Catherine Phiri of Zambia before a boisterous crowd at the Lusaka Government Complex in Lusaka, Zambia, on February 26.

Having used in excess of US$2 000 in preparations for the bout only, Chiwandire and her management effectively made significant losses when her victory was accompanied by a mere US$1 500.

And the mother of three has endured a soul-searching period over the last five weeks even contemplating quitting the sport three months before her scheduled title defence.

But everything has changed and Chiwandire was punching the air with jubilation at State House yesterday after receiving the token from President Mnangagwa.

The Head of State hailed Chiwandire's exploits at a time when sport is still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Her victory has seen her automatically becoming the highest ranked female boxer in Africa, across all weight categories and the only female boxer currently holding a World Boxing Council title on the African continent. This is a remarkable milestone as she has also become the highest ranked Zimbabwean boxer in the history of boxing in this country. Congratulations, Makorokoto, Amhlophe," said the President.

"She has also exhibited the tenacity, resolve and determination associated with the warrior spirit of the people of our great country.

Her victory and achievement is equally a testimony that women can achieve great exploits in all spheres of life in general and sport in particular.

"This achievement reinforces the immense potential and success of Zimbabwean women in sport. Since the attainment of Independence, women in sport have recorded notable achievements from the Golden Girls era in hockey, through to Hon Dr Kirsty Coventry's Olympic exploits in swimming and the Mighty Warriors participation at the Rio Olympics, to mention but a few. The women of our country must continue to ‘break all biases'."

The President said Chiwandire's exploits should inspire other prospective female athletes while hailing the Zimbabwe Boxing and Wrestling Control Board's vision.

"I note your vision of ‘An Excelling and Inclusive Combat Sport Nation by 2030', this is a commendable aspiration. However, I implore the Boxing and Wrestling Control Board to ensure the infusion, integration and application of modern coaching methods so that the country's boxers are highly competitive in all categories and competitions."

He said the Government is ready to support Chiwandire in her title defence whose preparations have since commenced in earnest. "For now, the Government stands ready to support Kudakwashe's title defence against Mariana ‘La Barbie' Juarez of Mexico, at the end of the second quarter of 2022. The event will undoubtedly afford us a unique opportunity to market our country as a favourable destination in our quest to host many other international sporting events.

"To Kudakwashe, I personally congratulate you for your historic achievement. Your victory makes you a role model to the youth in general and young girls in particular. May this recognition by your country serve to motivate other young people throughout the country to exert their energy on safe, beneficial and productive activities such as sport. Drug and substance abuse, among other social vices afflicting our communities, should be shunned and rejected."

The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, thanked the Government for the kind gesture.

"It is a huge honour to be part of this gathering to celebrate the success of our young lady (Chiwandire). I hope she continues on this very interesting journey of bringing more success to Zimbabwe. Kudakwashe's success is testament to the strategic leadership and vision that you have, Your Excellence, to improve our sports participation and performances as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1. The sport of boxing, Your Excellence, has huge potential of contributing significantly to the social-economic development of this country," said Coventry.

"Just this weekend Wembley Stadium (in London, England) was host to the WBC heavyweight championship match between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte. The match was performed before 94 000 spectators. Millions were following the match on different social media platforms and that generated millions of dollars. I believe Your Excellence Zimbabwe can achieve this.

"My Ministry is elated by the recognition your office has given to sportspersons who excel and raise levels in sports. Sportspersons are an important part of our mission; they are role models to our youths. This gesture, Your Excellence, is an indication of commitment of the Second Republic to the development of sports and repositioning sports to the national socio-economic development. Your Excellency, in terms of World Boxing Council policy, the interim title means that Kudakwashe is the second right female boxer of the super-bantamweight champion. WBC policy provides opportunities for boxers to compete for category titles and to defend titles through constant participation of fights.

"By winning these titles Kudakwashe has an opportunity to defend her title and challenge for the highest grand WBC title this year."

Chiwandire said the gesture will spur her on.

"I would like to thank the President for this recognition. For me, it means the world, just to be called and gather with the President. I am humbled by the honour and it means I have to work even harder to continue raising the country's flag higher," said Chiwandire.

Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, an ardent follower of boxing, was also there while ZBWCB chief executive, Lawrence Zimbudzana, and Chiwandire's manager/promoter, Clyde Musonda, also graced the occasion.

In July last year, President Mnangagwa rewarded Charles Manyuchi with a US$10 000 reward after the Chivhu-based boxer successfully defended his WBF middleweight title against Mohammed Sebyala of Uganda in Masvingo.

Source - The Herald