SA Endurance Athlete and 2 Young Cyclists Partake in Gruelling Race to Promote Inclusivity for Women in Sport

SA Endurance Athlete and 2 Young Cyclists Partake in Gruelling Race to Promote Inclusivity for Women in Sport

  • A well-known South African endurance athlete and two strong development cyclists have taken on the gruelling Race to Willowmore challenge to raise awareness about the lack of support women in sports often receive
  • The brave ladies fought through the mountain bike race despite facing harsh terrain, with the women forced to dig deep to complete the challenge
  • Talking to Briefly News, sports activist, Ingrid Avidon, opened up about her passion for empowering women in sports

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Three brave Mzansi ladies have taken on the mammoth Race to Willowmore challenge to raise awareness about the funding gap between men and women in sports.

The SA ladies took part in the gruelling Race to Willowmore to raise awareness about the equality of women in sports.
Ongezo Mini, Ingrid Avidon, and Yomelela Mfazwe are the strong women who took part in the Race to Willowmore. Image: Supplied.
Source: UGC

The race, which took place between 22 and 26 March, was a 530km mountain bike challenge, with the ladies required to navigate using maps, without the aid of a GPS, from Cradock to Willowmore in the Eastern Cape.

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Endurance athlete and sports activist, Ingrid Avidon, partook in the challenge with two young development cyclists named Ongezo Mini and Yomelela Mfazwe.

Talking to Briefly News, Ingrid opened up about her passion for empowering women in sports and why bridging the funding gap was so vital:

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“Women hold up half of the sky, yet when you look at certain sporting events in South Africa and across the world, they are not represented equally.
“This is especially true of endurance racing and mountain biking. I strongly believe that when you give a woman a chance to participate in something that she never dreamt of taking part in before, you give her such a huge opportunity for self-affirmation.”

The athlete has been partaking in endurance challenges for the last 25 years, in support of diverse worthy causes.

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Two of the athletes completed the Race to Willowmore 2023

Ingrid and Yomelela completed the race, with Ongezo sadly injured and unable to continue:

“Ongezo fell on the first day and withdrew. She is okay, though. Yomelela and I continued.
“It was remarkable to see Yomelela grow in confidence over the days. She had to dig deep, but her strength and resilience shone brightly. She does not swim, yet we crossed 11 rivers.”

Ingrid describes the race as both mentally and physically challenging:

“It was tough, but we finished the race successfully in Willowmore. It was a proper adventure through game reserves, baboons, kudu, warthog, giraffes, buffalo, and more.”
“We never felt unsafe or threatened. It was liberating. After the first day, the odds of finishing were not in our favour, but we proved them wrong. Women are beautiful, but we are also strong, independent, caring, and tough.

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The ladies were supported by international online gambling company, 10bet, which financed their entry fees, kit, cycling shorts, shirts, arm warmers, backpacks, water bottles, and more.

In an interview with Briefly News, Zanele Nhlapo, CSR and PR Manager at 10bet Africa, reflected on why it was important for the company to support women in sports:

“One of our goals is to empower communities by providing support for their various sporting requirements.
"This is our second women-in-sports initiative to date. We recently were the headline sponsor for the Women's Diski Challenge 2023, which provided an avenue for empowering and motivating women through soccer.”

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Source: Briefly News

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