Mugabe opens Youth Games

BULAWAYO - The African Union Sports Commission (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games were officially opened in at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo yesterday.

President Robert Mugabe officially opened the Games with hundreds of athletes from 10 African countries turning up to compete for medals in various sporting disciplines.

The opening ceremony came as confusion reigned ahead the hosting of the Games with equipment and venues for several sports not ready.

In total some 1,317 participants aged under-20 from 10 African countries are expected to take part in the Games to run until December 14.

Minister of Sport Andrew Langa said the infrastructural legacy of the Region 5 Games would leave Bulawayo a different place.

“The Games have started well and the spirit is high, I want to assure all our visitors a safe stay in our country, may you all perform to your best abilities,” Langa said.

Organising Committee secretary-general Mvuzo Mbebe commended Zimbabwe for empowering young athletes by hosting the event.

“Zimbabwe in general and Bulawayo in particular now join the rest of the world in being able to host short course swimming competitions. Barbourfields Stadium can now host Caf competitions.

“White City Stadium can now host any international competitions. These young people will always say I participated in Zimbabwe. The region as a whole will reach for greatness.”

Speaking during his key note address to mark the official opening, Mugabe said Zimbabwe was humbled to host the sixth edition of the Games.

Mugabe encouraged athletes live by the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

“I urge all participants to use these regional competitions to shine. Give it all your best,” he said.

“I wish to implore all youths to abstain from taking drugs and other intoxicating substances. I urge them to adhere to the safe and clean sports ethics as in enshrined in the anti-doping code.

“All athletes are urged to maintain the best values of Olympisim…May the winners be gracious in victory and the losers humble in defeat.”

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