British Embassy launches Olympic Legacy Project

HARARE - The British Embassy has launched an Olympic Legacy Project valued at US$10 000 to improve sports infrastructure in institutions that cater for people living with disabilities.

The launch coincides with the opening of the London 2012 Paralympic Games where an estimated 4 200 athletes from 163 nations, including Zimbabwe’s Paralympic sprinter Elliot Mujaji and wheelchair tennis ace Nyasha Mharakurwa are competing.

The project will enable physically-challenged athletes to actively participate in mainstream sporting activities.

King George VI Centre in Bulawayo is the first institution in Zimbabwe to benefit from this initiative, where the British Embassy handed over $25 000 for the construction of a new wheel chair tennis court that will also be used as a wheelchair basketball court.

Speaking at the Olympic Legacy Project launch, British ambassador Deborah Bronnert said: “In the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the UK government is funding an Olympic Legacy Project in developing countries."

“This will leave a strong and lasting legacy that supports people living with disabilities to enable them to actively participate in sport and physical activity.”

The Olympic Legacy Project is also set to benefit institutions in Harare, Mutare and Masvingo where sports facilities that include swimming pools and tennis courts will be refurbished and the relevant sporting equipment provided where necessary.

The vice president of the Zimbabwe Paralympic Committee, Oripa Mubika, commended the embassy for this gesture, saying: “This initiative will enable athletes with disabilities excel in their various sporting activities enabling them to fare better in international competitions such as the next Paralympic Games to be held in Rio in 2016.”

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