SPORTS is a universal language that cuts across all divides and unites people regardless of gender, race, religion or culture.
This is why taking part in various sporting activities, in whatever capacity, has become part of our daily lives. Genderwise, women and men interact in almost all the games. If it is not in playing, it is in administration, officiation or as spectators.
The set up in Malawi is that men and women compete actively in sports codes like athletics, football, volleyball, chess, basketball and swimming — of course in their own categories determined by their gender. In golf, the scenario has been different.
Male players have dominated the game for many years. This has left women feeling left out and believing that they have no role in a game long viewed as men’s. However , the status quo seems to be changing. The ladies are slowly- but surely catching up.
They are taking up the golfing clubs in growing numbers. But the country’s leading female golfers are not happy with the numbers. They still want more ladies to pick up the game.
Their concern stems from membership of female players during tournaments. They argue that women’s turn up at such tournaments is on the lower side in most cases.
True to their observations, women’s participation during this year’s Sunbird matchplay and stableford individual tournaments was at 10 players out of the 78 that registered. On Wednesday, during the Stansfield Motors ballpool, only five women competed out of the 29 players who registered for the tournament.
Top-rated Roza Mbilizi is no stranger to the podium when it comes to golf events and she feels there is need for more ladies to take up the sport.
“It does not feel good that ladies’ numbers in various competitions are not that impressive. This is disappointing but I believe we will get there with time. Those of us who have played golf for some time need to encourage the younger ones to join the game,” said Mbilizi, whose handicap of eleven is the best among ladies in the country.
During the Sunbird golf, Mbilizi won the ladies’ Individual Stableford event after posting 38 points. Another golfer, Shelon Marques, with a handicap of 22, is enjoying the form of her life and said the sport provides opportunities for development.
Marques hailed Sunbird Tourism for introducing a ladies section in match-play, describing the development as motivating to women golfers.
“As a lady golfer, all I can say is that for women out there willing to play golf, there are opportunities in the sport which help the player to progress on the greens and life in general. So if there are some ladies out there wishing to join the sport, they can link up with us and we will offer them support.
“On this note, let me salute Sunbird Tourism for having a different section for female golfers in the match-play event. It was challenging because we have been playing for two months and I played against six opponents. Beating them all is no mean achievement,” she said.