By Sylvester Munanjala in Lusaka Zambia.
Zambian first Lady Dr Christine Kaseba Sata was not only guest of honour but also took part in the 21 km Inter Company Relay ICR fitness race that took place in the Zambian capital Lusaka on Saturday June 14th 2014. The Zambia Sugar relay team, the leading sugar producer in the country easily beat other competitors to win the 16th edition of the race that took place at the Shows Grounds. Chambeshi Metals were runners up while the Zambia National Service was a distant third in the relay race organized by the Zambia Amateur Athletic Association ZAAA. The theme of this year’s race was “Act Now and Stop Road Accidents, child marriages and Child abusesas this societal ills continue to claims more and more victims every year. The Zambia Road Traffic Safety Agency (RATSA) sponsored the race.
The ICR is an annual initiative of ZAAA intended to raise funds to sponsor aspiring athletes across the country. This year’s edition is remarkable in the sense that Zambia also celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence and the desire of the government to improve the health of its citizens and workers through sports related projects like the company relay race.
Top government officials and thousands of Zambians watched as some 900 participants from from the biggest companies in the country battled out on the race track, away from the comfort of their offices and factories. Employers, employees and their children competed in different categories including a 10km relay race for men and women, 100m CEO sprint, 5km health walk for adults and 80m sprint, sack race, egg race for children. Some 70 companies took part in the race including that Mopani Copper Mine, Zambia Sugar COMESA and Bata
At the end of the race, first Lady Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, who took part in the 5km health walk thanked everyone for accepting to be part of this year’s jubilee race.
“This event has distinct qualities of uniting the nation even in political affiliation…Sports can provide instant social network for everyone, foster friendship and good behavior among individuals. It creates proper relationships between employers and employees and in so doing, team spirit is boosted and productivity in companies is maximized.” She Added.
Dr. Kaseba observed that the theme was timely especially with the recent increase in deadly road accidents across the country. Close to 2000 Zambians died last year from avoidable road accidents according to available statistics.
Chiefs and Traditional Affairs minister, Prof Nkandu Luo who took part in the chief executive race, said
The relay wasa good opportunity tosensitize people about the ravages of HIV/AIDS and called on leaders across the board to support the initiative because healthy people make productive workers.
Moyo Katozi, one of the female participants in the Bata Individual-Power Race said she was happy to have participated in the event. She said such events are good as they help keep one fit from illnesses or common-occurring infections and preventable diseases like diabetes.