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Rally Lioness harbour huge dreams

MOTORSPORT By Jonathan Komen | November 27th 2021

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Kenya's women rally drivers have made impressive strides in motorsport in the recent years.

Lisa Christoppern, the founder of Lioness -a team that brings together  former and active rally drivers in the country, said the sport has created vision, strength and solidarity among women as well as strong bonding.

"We would agree that if you them all off the road, our economy would be affected. Most of us would not put food on the table or educate their children," Christopern said during a funds drive to support the Lioness at Gigiri, Nairobi, on Saturday evening.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake chair person Zipporah Kittony attended the event which was marked with pomp and colour. Amina did not speak to the media saying she was in a mourning mood.

For many years, Christopern said, Kenyan women rally drivers have been kept on the back burner.

"Over the years, Kenyan women have had little access to motorsport or even feature in history apart from cheering and spectating. Today, the Lioness have emerged as  the leading light. As a group, we started to coalesce during the 2021 World Rally Championship in Naivasha. We realised that there was a large group of women jumping up and down along the roads. And, more importantly, the rally was led by our CS Amina. We felt so fortunate. That spark the lit.

"We have now started to write history of Kenyan women in motorsport. Rallies and endurances driven by the Lioness stand out as extra ordinary humanitarian and environmental journeys.

"Beautifully filmed capturing and showcasing the beauty of our country, our people and the scenary make our Safari Rally a win win for Kenya and all sports enthusiasts," she said.

The World Rally Championship route in Naivasha, she said, had many hills and triple caution jumps which sparked off laughter and the shared bonds notwithstanding the intense competition.

"There is however so much more to our mission. We will bring change and each event will payback.

"There are those that have gone before us and we are grateful for their wisdom and inspiration.

The Lioness paid glowing tribute to the late Orie Rogo Manduli, who was among pioneer female rally drivers in the country.

Wanjala Sio, the treasurer of Lioness, said  Manduli's legacy will inspire many generations.

Christopern said: "Motorsport has its highlights in the partnership between sport, community and environmental conservation.

"Look at the lives that have been changed by the mitigation of wildlife. For example, the Rhino Charge and the fencing of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya.

"If nothing else, let's do it in honour of all those mums on the school run. Many of us are mums and all of us are daughters," she added. 

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