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2024 FNB Marathon launched.

… Chola said the main aim is to Promote Physical Fitness and Collaboration

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24, (15-05-2024) – Minister of Sports, Youths, and Arts, Elvis Nkandu, launched the 2024 FNB Marathon, known as Kopala Run, emphasizing its role in promoting physical fitness, collaboration, and economic growth in the region.

The event, attended by government officials, representatives from sporting organizations, and the press, showcased the marathon’s significance in fostering unity and diversity.

Nkandu reiterated the Ministry’s dedication to nurturing athletic talent and ensuring Zambia’s competitiveness globally at a press briefing.

He praised FNB Bank for sponsoring the event, highlighting the importance of corporate partnerships in advancing sports initiatives.

“The marathon serves as a catalyst for socio-economic development, attracting participants and fostering business opportunities,” he explained, encouraging all Zambians to embrace physical fitness and participate in the event, regardless of athletic ability.

At the same function, FNB Zambia, a leading financial institution, announced initiatives to drive social impact and promote sporting events.

Kapumpe Chola, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), noted FNB Zambia’s 15 years of service and its reputation for innovation and digital leadership in banking.

Chola mentioned the bank’s partnership with the Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Arts to enhance sporting disciplines and support women’s football at the national level.

“Through the FNB Foundation, aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals, the bank focuses on community needs, including providing water tanks to the Eular community in Kitwe,” she said.

Chola also highlighted the FNB Kopala Run, featuring a half marathon alongside traditional distances, emphasizing health and wellness promotion. Collaboration with Zambia Athletics and support from Still Water Sports will ensure the event’s success.

Wade Bromfield, a representative from Still Water Sports, expressed the organization’s commitment to delivering an exceptional experience for all participants.

“Still Water Sports anticipates an even larger crowd in 2024. With a focus on sustainability, inclusivity, and community engagement, this year’s event aims to attract a diverse range of participants,” he said.

Central to this year’s event is the expansion of distance categories to accommodate more runners.

In addition to the 5 km and 10 km races, a new 21.1 km category has been introduced, offering a fresh challenge.

This expansion reflects Still Water Sports’ commitment to meeting the needs of the athletic community.

Enhancements have been made to the runners with disabilities category to ensure inclusivity and accessibility. Additionally, a schools’ challenge has been introduced to promote youth involvement in athletics.

Bromfield acknowledged the support of sponsors like FNB for their commitment to sustainability efforts and encouraged prospective participants to register early due to limited spaces available.

Elias Mpondela, President of the Zambia Athletics Association (ZAA), addressed key issues in the country’s athletic landscape during a recent press conference in Lusaka.

Mpondela highlighted challenges in mobilizing teams for international events on short notice and commended successes in corporate matters.

He emphasized the importance of dynamism and stakeholder support for athletic progress, as well as ongoing efforts to maintain regulatory standards and promote inclusivity in races.

Mpondela also discussed the personal and physical benefits of athletics and emphasized the ZAA’s commitment to safety and transparency in event organization.

Meanwhile, Elisha Matambo, Copperbelt Provincial Minister, congratulated FNB Zambia on their 15th anniversary of operation in Zambia.

He extended his gratitude to the chief executive officer for inviting his office to be part of the relaunch since its inception in the Copperbelt.

“Previously, most events and activities were centralized in Lusaka, but now they are expanding to include the Copperbelt,” he said.

Matambo expressed satisfaction with FNB Zambia’s support for this initiative, emphasizing its significance for the entire country.

He said the Kopala Run’s launch on the Copperbelt was a long-awaited moment, bringing together towns in championing wellness due to their proximity.

Matambo encouraged participation not only from Katrin but also from other parts of Zambia.

He anticipated an increase in attendance from 4,000 to 10,000, indicating its popularity.

Matambo highlighted the government’s recognition of collaboration with FNB Zambia to create positive societal impacts through such initiatives.

He expressed eagerness to work with the bank and other partners to promote health and cooperation in Zambia.

He said the second edition of FNB Kopala, scheduled for June 20th, 2024, is an event free as he will personally looks forward to.

“This event will cater to both professional and novice athletes, as well as families, encouraging them to run or walk together,” he said.

He encouraged people from Kitwe, the Copperbelt, and Zambia as a whole to join in, emphasizing unity and collaboration.

Matambo acknowledged the government’s efforts to create an enabling environment in the Copperbelt, ensuring safety and orderliness for participants of such events.

He praised the resurgence of the mining sector, indicating positive developments in various sectors of the economy.

He commended FNB’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, including their donation of water tanks and support for community schools and women’s empowerment.

Matambo encouraged FNB to continue making these efforts known to inspire others in the realm of social corporate responsibility.

He commended FNB for its efficiency in business operations and product introduction, expressing satisfaction as a customer. Matambo pledged to advertise the upcoming event extensively and anticipated a significant turnout.

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