Sports Council draft hailed The championships are scheduled for White City in Bulawayo on April 8 and Tendai Tagara said junior athletes have been craving for the races which gives them a lot of opportunities.

Ellina Mhlanga
Senior Sports Reporter
DIFFERENT national sport associations have welcomed the proposed Sports Council structure and believe it will unify the sporting fraternity in the country.

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, unveiled the proposed structure on Thursday.

It will be made up of 15 members, seven of them will be the Minister’s appointees, and the other eight will come from national associations.

The new structure will include the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee president, as the first vice chairperson, and the Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee president, as second vice-chairperson.

The Special Olympics president will also have a seat on the board.

ZOC chief executive, Stephen Mudawarima, said the move opens the opportunity for sports stakeholders to be heard.

“As ZOC, we think it is an excellent initiative, not just because the ZOC president will be first vice-chairperson, but because it brings a forum where all stakeholders have a seat on the table and can be heard.

“Remember the ZOC and ZNPC presidents are voted in by the associations.

“So, already, when associations vote now, they need to look at the bigger picture as they are not just voting someone into ZOC or ZNPC or Special Olympics but onto the Council as well.

“It’s no longer about selfish interests, but national matters,” said Mudawarima.

The board will include an athletes’ representative as well.

“Athletes should always the main focus and having athletes’ representation is a noble gesture and acknowledgement of their critical role is sports.

“This also means that we need to have properly constituted national federations and athletes commissions to ensure that there are mechanisms for proper feedback and consultations to happen.

“Another key issue is inclusivity, and the Minister has done a great job ensuring that ZNPC and Special Olympics, have permanent seats.

“The board should also be mindful of gender representation and, hopefully, up to 40 percent, or more, of the board should be women,” said Mudawarima.

Zimbabwe Rugby Union president, Aaron Jani, said by involving everyone, including national associations and athletes, it makes it possible to have focus on national objectives.

“By involving national sporting associations, it now means you have a chance at galvanising the whole sporting fraternity towards consensus on national sporting objectives.

“We were too fragmented and resources were thinly spread.

“This way we can now agree to focus on key areas where results can be achieved benefiting the country as a whole.

“Many countries have primary objectives in terms of sport. Jamaicans have focused and are good at sprints, Kenya are amazing in long distances.

‘’We now have an opportunity to choose which area we are most suited based on our natural ability and climate.

“Once this has been finalised, we can channel adequate resources towards the cause. This is a potential game-changer for Zimbabwe, which will be driven by athletes themselves,” said Jani.

National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president, Tendai Tagara, praised Coventry in leading the way.

“It’s a positive development, it will give improvement because the aim is having people who push for direct support to the athletes.

“Remember the challenge was not on structure but the 100 percent political appointees. I salute the Minister for the brave step.

“Associations have the product and must have a say on how the product is supported.

“You can’t be the owner of the cake then you are told you can’t tell us how it is going to be shared,” said Tagara.

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