Paralympians petition ZNPC

HARARE - Local Paralympians have petitioned the Zimbabwe National Paralympics Committee (ZNPC) accusing the board of failing to develop the sports as part of their mandate and for operating in isolation.

Zimbabwe was only represented by six athletes at last month’s Paralympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after ZNPC failed to send a host of athletes to qualifying events in the run-up to the games.

Zvishavane-based visually-impaired athlete Laina Sithole was the only athlete taking part in athletics and was accompanied by a five-member paralympics rowing team that constituted of Previous Wiri, Margaret Bangajena, Michelle Garnett, Takudzwa Gwariro and Jessica Davis.

This week the paralympians submitted the petition to ZNPC secretary-general Witness Magagula.

The petition was signed by athletes, managers and coaches from different sporting disciplines including wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, seating volleyball, hearing impaired and intellectual disability sports and spinal injuries sports.

They demanded that they be furnished with an update of all annual general meetings reports dating back to 2013 among other issues.

“ . . . As concerned local and foreign-based athletes and technical advisors we are requesting for . . . the reports soon . . . we are also requesting to be engaged in the AGMs and public meetings conducted by your association if any for the benefit of us and the association at large,” reads the petition.

“We have come to this point because we believe that for the past four years and possibly longer, ZNPC has been constituted by dysfunctional associations among them Wheelchair Tennis Zimbabwe, Wheelchair Basketball Zimbabwe and others yet no decisive action has been taken against them.

“All this has contributed to among other things; to have a chaotic state in disability sport in the country. We also would like to know who makes up umbrella associations and how they are voted in office.

“We are also appealing to you that umbrella associations such as Nwasa must be terminated and sporting disciplines such as wheelchair tennis, basketball and volleyball among others become associations so as to represent themselves. This will increase efficiency and participation as those associations will know exactly what to do to make their sport heard and seen.”

The country has had to endure a long wait that has stretched back 12 years to win a paralympics medal since amputee Elliot Mujaji’s heroics in Athens, Greece. Mujaji won gold in the 100m sprint in 2004 Games.

Mujaji had also won gold in Sydney, Australia four years earlier.

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