PIONEERING Paralympian Molene Muza believes women living with disabilities in Zimbabwe can do better and make a living out of their talents if they get good support.
Muza was the first woman to represent the country in the Paralympics – the olympics for people living with disabilities. These Games start at the conclusion of each Olympics with Paralympic athletes using the same Games Village and competition facilities. The sport has grown into a multi-million dollar business, with some of the athletes competing on the professional circuit.
In an interview recently, Molene who was at the 2004 Athens Oympics and 2008 Beijing games, where she finished in the top six in both shotput and javelin, said support for Paralympians especially women in the country was very poor. She added that there were far too many talented girls out there who were just waiting for a talent scout to identify them, train and give them the right exposure to excel and eke a living out of their talents.
“Support for sport among people with disabilities is very low. It starts with the organisers and sponsors. The tendency has been a low opinion about us, especially women where at times sponsorship is beyond even the bare minimum.” she said.
“We can do well if supported at all levels. The community and businesses must respect us and put more effort towards our folk. Inability does not mean we cannot excel. We have done well as women athletes. See what Connie Sibanda did at the Commonwealth Games winning gold. With exposure and resources we can do the country proud,” Muza added.
She said in the two instances where she represented the country at the Paralympics she did not prepare well.
“There are no high profile competitions. Even ahead of the Paralympics, we did not go to camp, we were only in Harare to fix paperwork, with better preparations I could have done better,” said Muza.
Muza has participated in wheelchair basketball too winning a bronze at a tournament in South Africa and was a dominant figure in marathon running until her cycle broke down.
“We have a problem as female athletes in that we do not have sponsors and that equipment is always a challenge. With proper equipment we will not have excuses for failure, it’s so many of us without proper equipment for our sports which include basketball, marathons and tennis,” said the former world number three.