HARARE - Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane has advised local athletes to stay away from performance-enhancing drugs.
Speaking over the weekend at the just-ended Schweppes Troutbeck ATU Triathlon African Cup in Nyanga, the Mberengwa East legislator urged the athletes to embrace the tenets of fair play.
“I wish to implore you to strive to do better with each competition. This is only possible if you work hard and avoid those activities which may bring the sport of triathlon into disrepute,” he said.
“Such activities include the use of banned substances which enhance performance. Competition should not be scripted elsewhere, but on the field of play.
“I would like to congratulate Triathlon Zimbabwe (TZ) for their organisational acumen that is evidenced by the meticulous arrangements backstopping this event which I am advised, is an Olympic qualifier for the Rio 2016 Triathlon competitions.
“I am glad to humbly note that this event bears testimony to your commitment to Brand Zimbabwe in general and to sport in particular.
“Brand Zimbabwe can only be a success story through multi-faceted and cross-cutting collaborative endeavours.
“It is therefore, my conviction that today’s (Saturday) event is a major milestone towards rebranding our beloved country and position it on a higher pedestal on the global stage. The multiplier effect of such an event to our national economy is self-evident as it promotes sports tourism and other related downstream activities.”
The minister also challenged TZ to spread the sport to all four corners of the country and even in rural areas.
“It is pertinent to note that our national Constitution provides for the need to create access to sport and recreation for all citizens,” he said.
“To this end, all national sports associations are expected to devolve their structures, activities and programmes to grassroots level. There is need to grow the pyramid base of the sport continuum if we are to reap any benefits at the higher level.
“I am aware that there could be challenges with equipment, especially the bicycles. As a ministry, we are aware that in rural areas many households have bicycles and they can improvise and compete using them.
“It is also my ministry’s expectation that the national sport associations will decentralise their structures to the lowest level which is the ward.”
A total of 16 foreign athletes took part in the elite race last Saturday with Mauritius’ Fabienne St Louis winning the women’s category ahead of Cindy Schwulst and Carlyn Fischer both from South Africa.
In the men’s elite category, Ayan Beisenbayev of Kazakhstan ruled the roost when he came first ahead of Germany’s Jonathan Zipf and Basson Engelbrecht of South Africa.
The Schweppes Troutbeck ATU Triathlon African Cup also ran concurrently with the Triathlon Zimbabwe National Championships.