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MBABANE – Let us empower our female boxers.

The world celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday.  International Boxing Association (IBA) Board of Directors Member Pearl Dlamini, who is the only lady representing the African continent, believes that the implementation of the Women in Boxing Agenda projects could help improve the position of women in boxing. Dlamini made particular reference to the commendable  performance of African female boxers, who achieved a total of 12 medals out of the 19 that were won by African boxers in the recently-ended Commonwealth Games held in England’s city of Birmingham.

Although there were no female boxers representing Eswatini, apart from the male duo of Thabiso Dlamini and Zweli Dlamini who failed to make podium finishes, 22 of the 77 boxers were ladies. The IBA President Umar Kremlev declared 2022 as ‘The Year of Africa’ and put up programmes that would help improve African boxing initiatives to match or even exceed international standards. This publication had a one-on-one interview with the highly influential sports administrator, focusing on African women empowerment in boxing.

Q: What do you think about the current position of women in boxing? What improvements can be done to expand women’s participation?  
A: The Women in Boxing Agenda will improve with the ambitions that the Woman Boxing Commission (WBC) has, which include the six main projects currently being delivered which are;
1.     Rolling out questionnaires to all national federations aimed at understanding the state of women boxing in each country. This is ongoing, although response is low so far.
2.     Appointment of woman ambassadors: This was done as we have a representative from each continent. These ambassadors need to implement programmes of luring women into the sport.
3.     IBA Women Boxing Awards: These first awards were delivered on May 20, 2022 in Istanbul Turkey. Many women are inspired by the awards
4.     Invisible to visible programme: Publicising women boxing news every two weeks in all social media platforms.
5.     Women Aspire Programme: Aimed to grow the base of more women being involved in boxing across all categories: Ongoing
6.     Women Coaches Manual: It has been developed and is being socialised.
Q: What other programmes or projects do you think can positively impact the development of women’s participation in boxing?
A: The improvements that I personally proposed are;
1.     “Vigorous Marketing Programme. I could name it ‘Inspire to aspire’, where top women boxers out there could inspire those in the streets who are shying away from the sport. This could aspire them to join our beautiful sport.”
2.     “We would also appreciate it if IBA could introduce a Mentor Programme for women in boxing. Each country can identify two women who can be mentored by IBA, then supported financially by IBA to further roll out the mentor programmes back in their countries. They can monitor the progress and report back to IBA.”
3.     “Women in Boxing Statistics is available. I suggest that further analysis be done to investigate which countries have low numbers of female officials and attention/funding must be given to support and capacitate those woman in those countries. Looking at the African statistics for the past Birmingham Games, it is time we understand what the challenges of those that did not send women boxers are, including my Eswatini, and a proposal can be made to IBA to help support our African countries in the female boxing space. This is good statistics which as the Board of Director for Africa and only woman I will use to make up the strong African case.”
4.     “IBA can roll out a programme I could label, ‘Empowering our Women Boxers’, where IBA could donate basic boxing equipment to targeted countries and send some experts to run that empowering sessions say for a week. It could really motivate women. We have seen the IBA president already donating 100 pairs of boxing equipment of all African individuals which is a good move. Let’s get support now on the women boxing empowerment.”

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