Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE Government has come to the aid of local athletes with a US$10 million Covid-19 relief package.
The elite athletes are set to receive one-off payment in allowances.
This group includes the athletes vying to qualify for international competitions, such as the Olympics and FIFA Under-20 World Cup football qualifiers.
These are set to get $8 000 per athlete.
Athletes, who will represent the country, at regional level, will pocket $5 000.
Those who will represent the country, at national level, will get $3 000, and community and ward level athletes will get a one-off payment of $2 000.
Yesterday, Acting Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Paul Mavima, unveiled the $10 million package for the athletes from all sporting disciplines.
Mavima officiated at the function, which was attended by officials from the ministry who included permanent secretary, Thokozile Chitepo, director Eugenia Chidhakwa as well as Sports Commissioner director general Prince Mupazviriho.
The money will be distributed to individual athletes, national associations, community sport and recreation clubs as well as academies.
The beneficiaries are required to apply through the Sports Commission by July 30.
Associations compliant with the SRC statutes, will be considered.
“The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is pleased to avail the sum of $20 million for the sports and arts sectors.
“Each of these sectors will receive $10 million Zimbabwean dollars, courtesy of His Excellency the President, Comrade ED Mnangagwa.
“The Ministry notes that the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought an unexpected break to the flow in the entire ecosystem of sports and cultural and creative industries in the country.
“This sudden cessation of programmes, and scheduling of events, have had a direct sting on the major products of the industries.
“Agreeably, Sports and Arts are reliable sources of income for many in the country, and the disruptions of various calendar events due to Covid-19, has prompted Government to intervene by way of the Relief Fund.
“This is a temporary intervention while broad and sustainable interventions will be worked on for the two industries,” said Mavima.
The Minister urged the athletes to apply before the closing date of July 30.
He said the funds will be disbursed once an application has been received, vetted and is successful.
“For the smooth delivery, and disbursements of these funds, applications will be received through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (ZNWCB) and the National Galleries of Zimbabwe (NGZ) who are the regulatory authorities of Sport and Arts in Zimbabwe.
“Application forms may be found and submitted at the Ministry’s Provincial and District offices as well as the offices of Sport and Recreation Commission, Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board of Zimbabwe.
“The forms may also be downloaded from the ministry’s website and also from the above-mentioned organisations’ websites,” said Mavima.
Although the ministry expect the affected athletes to provide proof of loss of income, Mavima said it was evident athletes and artists have been affected by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
“Loss of income can be narrative — I was performing (competing) every week, getting so much, but has lost so much earnings, it can be documented.
“But, generally, as a nation, we know a lot of our athletes have been disadvantaged and the major criteria should be, are you a bona fide athlete?”