Meet Zim's Youth Olympic Games Ambassador

HARARE - All-round sportsman Rukudzo Gona has been appointed his country’s Youth Olympic Games Ambassador.

The announcement was made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which published an impressive list of over 100 inspiring young people who will serve as Young Ambassadors for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in China between August 14 and 16.

SPEARHEAD: Rukudzo Gona, left, leads the St John’s College rugby side out for a league match last year.

The list features active athletes, including Olympians and YOG alumni, sports coaches, students and young professionals, all aged between 18 and 25. Despite coming from all walks of life, the Young Ambassadors, who were nominated by their National Olympic Committees, have one thing in common – a desire to live by the Olympic values, and to inspire and empower young people to do the same.

While most people spend a life time searching if at all they possess any talent, but for Gona, the question has always been about which talent to pursue.

The former Zimbabwe Under-16 basketball captain and Zimbabwe rugby youth international has been setting the stage alight in various sporting disciplines.

Gona’s all-round sporting qualities also saw him flourish in soccer and athletics, going on to represent Harare’s St John’s College in both disciplines.

His exploits for both school and country have not gone unnoticed, with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (Zoc) selecting the 19-year-old at the country’s Ambassador.

Gona outfoxed 23 applicants from across Zimbabwe to land the role.

He ultimately joins 119 other young men and women from across the world at the Games.

Gona says he owes his growing success to perseverance.

“I have been blessed throughout, I just believed in myself and having faith. With both faith and belief it can take you anywhere,” he says.

Gona had a profound influence on St John’s and the Zimbabwe rugby Under-18 side last year.

For the Rams, the flyhalf was part of the successful tour to the United Kingdom.

The Rams were making their second UK tour in over two decades. They won six games, drew once lost twice.

He was also one of Zimbabwe’s key players at last year’s Craven Week, were they won two out of three games.

It thus came as no surprise when he walked away with the St John’s Sportsperson of the Year Award.

Gona reckons playing in the Craven Week is his highest point in his rising rugby career.

“It's every schoolboy’s dream to play for your country whether it’s at U-13, U-17 or U-18 level,” he says.

He hopes to pursue a career in rugby and is currently applying for a UK scholarship.

Gona will however not take part in the actual Games as Zimbabwe will not be represented at Rugby Sevens.

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