Athletes fight SRC

Zimbabwean athletes who last December participated in Zone 6 Youth games are up in arms with the Sports and Recreation Commission over outstanding allowances and ill-treatment.

It is alleged that athletes were each promised an allowance of $300 and a bonus for winning medals. Instead they were paid $150 in Swaziland and were promised to get the balance of $150 plus bonuses upon arrival in Harare. However, 12 months after the pledge, the SRC still haven’t fulfilled their promise.

It is also alleged that the youths were forced to sleep in and under the bus without blankets. Athletes further alleged that they were given food that had gone bad. Other information obtained by this publication suggests that before departure to Swaziland, underage athletes were forced to sign contracts without the supervision of their guardians.

Disgruntled athletes, who cannot be named for professional reasons, said that on arrival at the games village in Swaziland they were denied access to the village because the Zimbabwean team management had not paid the participation fees. As a result, the girls slept in the bus while the boys slept under the bus. The athletes spent the second night in a hostel which they claimed was filthy.

One parent, who preferred anonymity, said: “It’s nice to have our children represent our country at such competitions, but they don’t deserve this kind of treatment”.

Disgruntled parents early this year confronted the SRC representative, Martin Dururu, who promised that the issues raised were being looked into. On March 17, having heard nothing from the SRC, one parent wrote to Dururu complaining about the manner in which the young athletes were treated.

Dururu confirmed that he met the parents and also received the letter of complaint. “I cannot deny it. All the issues you are talking about happened, but I have a problem with the contract issue. I checked and found out that the contracts were not signed.

I don’t know why because they were supposed to be signed. On the issue of promised allowances, I am not qualified to make a comment,” said Dururu. Joseph Muchechetere, the SRC director of sports and development, acknowledged that the Swaziland tour of duty had been problematic.

“I am aware that the Swaziland tour of duty had such problems. As SRC, we had no resources and were still trying to mobilise the funds by the time the games began. We were denied access into the games village because we still had an outstanding balance which was a result of penalties for paying the participation deposit after the deadline,” he said. SRC director general, Colonel Charles Nhemachena, said he would discuss this issue with his management team.

Post published in: Athletics

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