Soz team back from UAE

THE Special Olympics Zimbabwe (Soz) team returned home yesterday from a largely-successful World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi where they won seven gold, three silver and five bronze medals.

The 16-member team made up of eight golfers, four athletics and four bocce athletes just fell short of a medal each after harvesting 15 medals at the just-ended games hosted in the United Arab Emirates.

The athletics team accounted for four gold medals courtesy of double-gold medallist Shepherd Patrick in the 1500m and 800m events, Tapiwa Mutsikira (1 500m) and Mufarowashe Shambira (400m).

Dadirai Jack and Hallel Guri won another gold in the bocce unified doubles, golfer Michael Mudyanadzo followed suit with another first place finish in the 18 holes format.
In athletics, Barbara Njovo won silver and bronze, Tinotenda Chisveto and Nkosilathi Gwayi took bronze in the bocce unified doubles as the medal count continued for Team Zimbabwe.

In golf, Nyasha Chikara and Takudzwa Matonhodze claimed silver medals in skills, Obbley Gwezere and Munyaradzi Musariri won bronze together with the unified nine holes pair of Derreck Chifamba and Lawrence Mahowa while Raramayi Mutingondo just missed a medal after coming in fourth place.

Soz director Viola Musariri paid tribute to the athletes and officials for putting in long hours in training.
“This year since I joined Special Olympics in 2011 has been the best World Games I think in all aspects,” Musariri told the Daily News yesterday.

“In terms of our preparations we selected this team in April 2018 and what we did from the time that we made that selection was that we went all out in terms of fundraising and bringing awareness to what we were doing.
“We had partners that believed in the work that we do. When we started talking about getting the team to Abu Dhabi we had people that believed in our work and that supported us.

“We never stopped, we continuously pushed and pushed and we have had companies that believed in the work that we do.
“Our work is life changing, we utilise sport as a catalyst to get to people with intellectual disabilities. This is the kind of work that people see. They see beyond the sport that we offer.”

Sports minister Kirsty Coventry saw-off the team at a ceremony hosted at Chapman Golf Club while President Emmerson Mnangagwa paid the team a courtesy visit at the Games during his recent visit in UAE.

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