Zim Cycling in turmoil

HARARE - Andrew Donaldson, Cycling Zimbabwe (CZ) president, is in the eye of a storm after saying the cycling team for the 2015 African Games was selected by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

Donaldson on June 15 circulated a notification letter indicating that a four-member cycling team with an even balance, two men and two women had been selected by the SRC.

The team for the African Games comprise of triathlon duo of Hellen Mitchel and Skye Davidson together with Nkulumo “Nkust” Dube and Albert Kerievha.

“It is with great pride that Cycling Zimbabwe announces the team chosen by SRC to represent Zimbabwe at the All Africa Games in Congo,” wrote Davidson.

“We had initially requested a team of 2 (two) women and 6 (six) men, but were cut down to 2 (two).

“After appealing and a hearing we were granted 2 (two) women and 2 (two) men.”

Harare Cycling Club rider, Bright Chipongo, one of the country’s top cyclists was again omitted from the squad which prompted his manager and club owner, Jose Dias to probe Cycling Zimbabwe on whether the team was chosen by SRC.

Chipongo is currently racing in the United States after getting a Category One (1) racing licence recently.

“We refer to your letter advising the Road National Cycling Team to represent Zimbabwe was selected by SRC,” Dias wrote.

“Kindly confirm if SRC selected the team or confirmed the team selected by Cycling Zimbabwe?

It is very unusual for SRC to select a team, they normally confirm a team recommended by Cycling Zimbabwe as they have limited knowledge of the sport and the abilities of the cyclists.

“I was personally very involved at the last All Africa Games team selection and preparation, and can confirm that the process you are stating is very unusual.

“For the purposes of fairness and transparency we look forward to your explanation soon, as I am sure you will agree that the selection does not reflect that the best and most capable team has been selected.”

Yesterday, Donaldson maintained that the SRC had selected the squad.

“That’s correct (team was selected by SRC),” Donaldson told the Daily News.

“Every discipline is dealt with the same way, there’s no special dispensation for any association. They (SRC) selected the whole All Africa Games team (now African Games) from cycling, karate, rugby etc.”

After further probing, Donaldson admitted that Cycling Zimbabwe made recommendations to the SRC before the final team was selected.

“We submitted the names, we put the names forward and the results and achievement and from that the SRC selected the team,” he added.

“In fact we never had any man selected by the SRC initially. It was only by us going there and actually appealing that we managed to get two men selected otherwise the men would never have gone.”

Meanwhile, Charles Nhemachena, SRC director-general scoffed at the claims that his organisation selected the team adding that they work in consultation with the parent sporting discipline.

“What I want to confirm is that the ultimate responsibility for the team that goes to represent the country is SRC’s. However, SRC works through the national sport associations to make their submissions,” Nhemachena said.

“When they make their submissions we will be working against a set criteria. This mostly involves past/immediate performances of athletes in terms of the international competitions they have participated in and their achievements there.

“Basically what we do is that we verify the submissions that have been made but we actually base that on the information that that we get from the association concerned. We do not select teams, obviously that is wrong. ”

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