By TROY MUKUPA
ON 8th March 2020, Zambia joined the world in commemorating International Women’s Day and on his Facebook page President Edgar Lungu called women true heroines who should be celebrated as they play a critical role in building the nation.
True to the President’s words, our country has many heroines around and one such is Inspector Olga Siamupangile, the Zambian female badminton ace.
Born in Kitwe at Wusakile General Hospital from Mr Patson Siamupangila, a retiree of Copperbelt Energy Corporations and Mrs Agnes Kambulu Siamupangila, Inspector Siamupangile did her primary schooling at Miseshi primary and later went to Wusakile Basic School for her Grade 8.
She was later moved to Sacred Heart Secondary school in Kitwe for her Grade 9 and 12.
“After completing Secondary School, I enrolled at the Technical Vocation Training Center in Luanshya to study as an Accounts Technician from 2006 to 2007.
In the year 2008 I moved to Holland and while there, the love for badminton grew.
It’s while there that I did play professional badminton with B.C. Amersfoort,” she explains.
“In 2011, I came back to Zambia and decided to join the Zambia Police Service of which I was nominated as recruit Constable at Kamfinsa mobile unit for training.”
And when asked on how the love and passion for badminton started, she said it all started when she went to a local library in the company of her father.
“While there, l saw some people playing badminton and I just completely fell in love with the game. I secretly started playing without my father knowing. I knew he was never going to accept the idea of me mixing school and sports,” she said.
Today Olga is ranked 6th in Africa and 1st in Zambia. She has managed to take herself to University where she is a fourth year student of Bachelor’s of Arts in policing and security studies at Zambia Open University.
She is based at Lusaka Central Police under the Child Protection Unit (CPU).
“My young sister Evelyn Siamupangila who is also a police officer is my doubles partner and together we are ranked fourth in Africa. Her hard work and commitment is now producing good results as she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant,” the Inspector adds.
And when asked how COVID-19 pandemic has affected the sport, Ms Siamupangila said COVID-19 epidemic has brought about some major setbacks in the sporting world including badminton.
She said because of the pandemic, she has only played one tournament this year for the road to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games before they were suspended to next year.
“I am currently training myself from home. I do home runs and I also have a home gym to help me keep fit during this period as you are aware of the Presidential directive that gyms should be closed so as to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” she insists.
“This fight is for all of us. COVID-19 is real. The health, safety and well-being of you, me, friends and families still remain the top priority of government.
“So let us all take responsibility in this fight. The pandemic is real. Acting causally will not help. Finding jokes over COVID-19 when people are dying from it does not show responsibility at all. Let us all adhere to the health guidelines and measures that have been put.”
Inspector Siamupangile has managed to grab major medals like the 2005 All Africa Junior in Ethiopia where she got a silver and a gold in the doubles tournament. In 2007 at the All Africa Games held in Algeria, she managed to scoop a bronze. She also participated in three Commonwealth games, one world championship in Glasgow, Scotland and in Australia for the Gold Coast
Commonwealth games. Last year, she was the Zambian flag bearer in Rabat, Morocco.
And for her outstanding performance, Inspector General of Police, Kakoma Kanganja this year in March at his office conferred a bronze medal on her after she participated in the Kenya Open International Badminton Tournament held in Nairobi. The conferreing of the medal was witnessed by the Zambia Police National Sports Coordinator Mr Willie Simwamba.
“I thank the entire Zambia Police Service for coming in to assist with sponsorship, Armaguard Security Company, madam Stella Libongani for my first promotion as Woman Sergeant and Mr Kakoma
Kanganja for the promotion I hold now of Inspector,” she said.
By TROY MUKUPA