Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE Sports Commission have commended the senior national netball team for their exploits that saw them emerging winners at the Pent Series in Windhoek, Namibia, last weekend. The country’s supreme sports body also heaped praise on young female motocross rider Tanya Muzinda after she once again flew the Zimbabwean flag high at the British Girls National Championships at Wroxton in Oxford, England, last weekend.
The Gems walked away a gold medal from the five-nation netball series that also featured Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and hosts Namibia.
Zimbabwe, who were led by the talented goal shooter Pauline Jani, won all their matches against the other four countries, dominating the five-day competition that ended on Sunday.
While the Gems consolidated their status as one of the fast rising netball teams on the continent, Muzinda put up a fine show at the British Girls National Motocross Championships at the famous Wroxton track in Oxford, England, to finish third overall in the 85cc Class (small wheel).
Muzinda opened her campaign on Saturday by finishing third in heat one before taking fourth position in heat two. The 13-year-old went on to claim another third place finish in heat three to put herself in good position for a podium finish going into the last day of the two-day championships that ended on Sunday where she raced in two more heats.
In May, Muzinda picked a bronze medal at the 2017 HL Racing British Master Kids Championships at Mildenhall just outside London.
Sports Commission’s acting director-general, Joseph Muchechetere, said such performances were encouraging.
“Obviously a win is a win for the country and we salute those achievements from Tanya Muzinda and the national netball team. That’s an achievement for the national team and for Tanya, it’s an achievement for the country.
“That’s the kind of performance we would want, which is befitting for elite athletes. And comes as a model to every team, to everyone who represents the country to fly the country’s flag high and to market ourselves as a country.
“That’s is what sport is all about, it’s to ensure that we have marketed ourselves as participants and as a country. That was an excellent performance,” said Muchechetere.
Although such efforts are a positive sign of what local athletes can achieve at the international stage, sometimes they are limited because of lack of resources.
Last year the Government, in a move expected to change the face of sport, adopted the Sports and Recreation Policy to promote inclusive participation of previously marginalised communities and remodel sport into a multi-million-dollar industry.
“Now that we have the sports policy, next is the stage is to finalise the national strategy. It brings everyone together so that we focus on one thing… what the SRC is supposed to do, the national associations, the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, as a way of making sure we have a deliberate move towards high performance.
“The ground work has already been made through the approval of the national policy. It enables us to come up with a national fund, the national fund is going to come in handy in trying to bridge the gap.
“The national fund will be built from different areas, the corporate, the Government and that should help us close the gap when it’s implemented,” Muchechetere said.