Sunday, 14 February 2021

14 ZIM OFFICIALS FOR 9 ATHLETES AT DUBAI PARA ATHLETICS

THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) have come out in defence of the size of Zimbabwe’s delegation, particularly officials, at the Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix.

There are growing complaints by sports bodies that officials are taking advantage of international events to take themselves on “holiday”. In the latest case, 14 officials travelled with a team of just nine athletes.

There was an also an outcry when Zimbabwe participated at the 2015 Afrobasket in Tunisia, as a sizeable number of the delegation was made up of administrators from the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe.

However, the SRC have absolved the Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix delegation of any wrongdoing.

“Whenever athletes go to compete on the international stage as Team Zimbabwe, there are certain guidelines and protocols that are effected that require personnel.

“In the present case, the need to ensure that Team Zimbabwe paralympic athletes’ welfare is taken care of cannot be overemphasized,” said SRC acting director-general Sebastian Garikai.

“The country’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS1), has sport diplomacy as a key pillar for the international community re-engagement initiatives.

“It is thus imperative to note that the country will seize every opportunity to re-engage and participate in international trade activities through sport, hence the presence of some delegates from Government,” he said.

All the 14 officials on tour were cleared by the commission.

Two officials from the Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee Board and one delegate from Team Management will have engagements on the sidelines with the International Paralympic Committee on preparations for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

“Among the topical issues up for discussion include registration, licensing, classification of athletes and improving and strengthening of the paralympic movement within member countries.

“Zimbabwe also has a sport diplomacy delegation which travelled to Dubai, mainly to attend to sport diplomacy issues in line with the Government of Zimbabwe’s thrust of re-engagement,’’ said Garikai.

The SRC congratulated the team in Dubai for winning seven medals, describing the milestone as “a positive contribution towards repositioning our national image”. Sunday Mail

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