|US$70 000 boost for Team Zimbabwe at Paralympic Games|
|Friday, 24 August 2012 00:00|
THE Government has availed US$70 000 for Team Zimbabwe that will be participating at the London Paralympic Games that are set to take off from August 29 to Sepember 9. Zimbabwe will be represented by two athletes, 100m gold medalist sprinter Elliot Mujaji and wheelchair tennis ace Nyasha Mharakurwa, who will be making his debut at the grand sporting stage.
Speaking at a send-off ceremony for the team that left for London on Wednesday, the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Lazarus Dokora, said Government is aware of the significant investment required to achieve success at the Olympics.
“This support has not been possible owing to the economic constraints that the Government has faced in the past few years largely as a consequence of the sanctions regime.
“We therefore appreciate the personal sacrifices that our athletes and coaches have made to prepare themselves for the games.
“Recognising the importance of the Games, Government has availed US$70 000 to facilitate for the team’s participation.
“Though Zimbabwe will be represented by two athletes, this number is certainly not representative of the sporting talent that abounds in Zimbabwe.
“It is well documented that our good performance at the Zone VI Youth Games have been anchored by the visually impaired athletes.
“This has been the case since the inaugural biennial event that was held in Maputo 2004.
“Unfortunately, it appears that no deliberate effort was made to invest in the development of the talent identified, which is a matter that needs collective effort of the government, Sports Commission, Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee, the corporate sector and other stakeholders, especially with respect to investing in the development programmes of sport for people with disabilities,” he said.
Chef de mission of Team Zimbabwe, Lewis Garaba, said he hoped for more support in identifying talent for the Paralympics as nations look forward to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games.
“Our desire is that our team continues to expand as we send them for future paralympic competitions, a sign of growth and development.
“We are grateful for all the support we have received and hope that this continues even when we come back from London,” he said.
Besides the two athletes, Team Zimbabwe also includes ZNPC president Michael Bulagango, Dereck Ndoramashe (Mharakurwa’s coach), Ammon Nyaundi (Mujaji’s coach), accompanying guest Obadiah Moyo and Olivia Gwaze, who is the physiotherapist.