Masenda challenges local athletes

HARARE - Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (Zoc) chairperson Admire Masenda feels preparations for the upcoming African Youth Games (AYGs) and Youth Olympic Games (Yogs) are lagging behind and hopes more athletes will book their places soon.

The AYGs are scheduled for July in Algeria while the Yogs will take place in October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Speaking yesterday after a courtesy call to new Sports minister Kazembe Kazembe at his offices, Masenda said: “Preparations are very slow. We are looking at about 53 athletes for the Youth Olympics but they still have to qualify.

“This is just based on what we have seen in terms of performances and submissions made by the associations. It’s based on estimations but it’s still slow.

“That’s another unfortunate issue by this time we should have confirmed who is participating. We have already got one who has qualified but we certainly hope to get more.”

Masenda is hoping the new government will help to take local sport to another level.

“There has to be a mind shift in the country on how sport is perceived. Sport must be an important pillar in terms of business, development and other economic issues,” he said.

“It is critical for government to participate, to push the drive to make the nation realise that sport is an important entity in the country.”

Meanwhile, Kazembe said there are bright chances of Zimbabwe rejoining the Commonwealth Club.

“Our programme actually follows the government policy. There are a lot of things that are taking place at the moment as far as re-engagement is concerned at that level,” he said.

“So as a ministry we will try and plan along those lines but what I can assure you is that those plans are there.

“We can’t be in isolation forever it doesn’t help anybody. If we are to compete with the rest of the world we need to be involved with the rest of the world.

“There is need to use the Commonwealth games as a bridge with the Olympic Games.

“We need to develop our sport into a big industry. The world over sport is big business so as Zimbabwe we cannot achieve that in isolation.

“We need everybody. We need to engage other nations so in that view the engagement of Commonwealth becomes one of our priorities.”

Comments (1)

Mr. Masenda with our use of archaic infrastructure and training we will be sending appearance teams to the Africa Youth Games and the Youth Olympic Games. For example track and field athletes still train on grass (not on tartan as their international competitors), do not use starting blocks (only get exposed to them on competition days), are not exposed to the latest sports medicine concepts (conditioning, nutrition, recovery etc.). Hon Minister thank you for the reform you are bringing to the sport domain. It will be a welcome development for our athletes to compete in the Commonwealth Games again. They have been the launch pad for illustrious careers for many young athletes

Daniel5 - 19 January 2018

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