Shiri upbeat despite challenges

HARARE - NAtional Paralympic head of delegation Anna Shiri said she still expects the team to be on top of their game when they participate at the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge in George Town, South Africa this weekend.

The Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge is the only exclusive wheelchair challenge for sportsmen and women in Africa and Zimbabwe are sending 15 athletes to the games together with six officials.

The athletes and other officials left for South Africa yesterday morning for the cycling challenge scheduled for Saturday in George Town, a city located between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Shiri, who is also a proportional representation senator in the upper chamber, is expected to leave tomorrow.

“Sportspeople with disabilities are faced with numerous problems and for instance you can see that they are travelling by road for such an important meet and by the time they get to George Town they will be exhausted and impacting negatively on their performance,” Shiri told the Daily News yesterday.

“We are very hopeful though that they will be able to return home with some medals, we have able and very competent athletes.

“They have all been training hard for this competition. One other thing we need to do is to start building a team of youths who can take over the baton and represent the country when this special group of dedicated athletes calls time on their careers.

“I’m supposed to join the rest of the team in South Africa soon because I’m yet to get the adequate financial resources to travel to and from the competition.”

Last Friday, the Sports ministry held a send-off ceremony for the athletes and officials in Harare with the acting permanent secretary Netsai Masiyanise challenging the team to bring home more medals.

“...The participation by the team at this year’s event presents Zimbabwe as an assertive force to reckon with and positions the country as a wheelchair athletics powerhouse in the world,” Masiyanise said.

“It is an accomplishment worth cherishing as it underlines our competitiveness in sport in general and athletics in particular.

“Last year, you scooped 11 medals at the same event and you put a sterling performance which we all celebrated...It is government’s considered view that events of this magnitude will yield much good to the Zimbabwean populace if they are brought closer to the people.”

Team Zimbabwe: Edmund Makutya, Elford Moyo, Samson Muroyiwa, Caston Mutwira, Alexander Mkandla, Previous Wiri, Knowledge Munogwei, Margaret Bangajena, Magadaline Madzivire, Thandiwe Ndlovu, Ratidzo Tomu, Libangani Langa, Munyaradzi Katiyo, Irene Phiri.

Officials: Anna Shiri (Senator), Gift Mabhaudhi (Disability Desk), Abigail Chipatiso (Medic), Vitalis Jeremiah (Communications), Musekiwa Khumbula (Patron), Christopher Jaji (Team Manager)

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