By Tirivashe Nheweyembwa in Gweru
The Zimbabwe National Paralympic and Youth Games were evaluated in Gweru where all the participating provinces and Sport Codes were represented. Prior to the evaluation session an inspection tour of the sport competition venues was undertaken with the Local Organizing Committee, Sports and Recreation Commission, Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and the National Sport Associations were represented.
The purpose of the inspection tour was to have an appreciation of the state of the facilities ahead of the Games which are set to be held in August and September 2018.
“Generally the sporting facilities which are earmarked for the Games appear to be of a good standard and they should match the demands of the Games though here and there will be need to spruce them up so that they match the expected standards”, Tirivashe Nheweyembwa said the SRC’s spokesperson.
Some of the National Sport Associations expressed satisfaction with the state of the sporting facilities though they also felt that in some instances improvements could be made so that the games may be taken to a higher level.
“The swimming pools are not that bad but our worry is that during the time of the Games the Midlands temperatures will be too cold hence it will compromise on the performance of the swimmers officials.
“Also the length in some of the pools is not up to standard but that is not to worry about because we may use the distance that is in place but the implication will be that results which will be posted may not be used to select athletes for the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under 20 Youth Games set for December 2018”added Tracy Doorman the Zimbabwe Aquatic Union Vice President.
During the tour members were taken to such places as Acot, Mkoba swimming pool, the City Swimming Bath, MSU sport fields, Regina Mundi and Nashville High School.
The delegates also had an opportunity to take stock of the 2017 Zimbabwe National Paralympic Games and the Revised National Youth Games which were held in Bindura and Hwange respectively.
“The evaluation was candid the delegates were able to air their views without fear of reprisal. The critical lessons that were learnt out of the Games were that there is need to clearly define the Games funding model and roles and responsibilities of some of the stakeholders especially when it comes to the Marketing of the Games.
“It was the delegates’ considered view that there was need to review the modus operandi of the Games by ensuring the LOCs are pointed well ahead of time and that they hit the ground running once they have been appointed, ”said Simba Gochera SRC Acting Sport Development Manager.
The Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Hon. Makhosini Hlongawane (MP) emphasized the need for the Local Organizing Committee to aggressively market the Games so that they may be able to generate revenue and if possible make a surplus for the Games.
“The reason why we put in place a Local Organizing Committee for the Games is so that they are able to raise resources for the Games and to this end as Government it is our thinking that gradually and steadily we should be able to do away with the participation fees in all the Games.
“This is only possible if the LOCs are able to raise to the occasion and go out to raise resources for the Games through robust and innovative means to engage the corporate sector and other relevant actors who may have in interest in Games”, Hlongwane added.
Midlands province was challenged to raise bar especially on the need for standard sporting facilities like the installation of tartan track for athletics and all the were that are to host the Games were challenged to raise to the occasion by starting the preparations now. The next Games General Assembly is slated for 28 February 2018 in Midlands.
Indeed nothing beats preparations.