Sports Minister calls for nurturing of talent at Paralympic Games

The Zimbabwe National Paralympic Games ended on a high note on Monday with the host province, Mashonaland Central, taking the shield for first position after garnering 45 medals.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhosini Hlongwane

Mashonaland West province came second with 36 medals, while Masvingo Province was third with 25 medals.

All shields and medals were provided by NMB Bank, which also provided the athletes with T‑shirts. NMB Bank has been on a drive to support special needs occasions and institutions. NMB officials were present throughout the games.

“As a bank that is concerned about contributing to the welfare of society not only through our banking activities but through supporting worthwhile causes that promote recognition of the talents and skills of all Zimbabweans, we believe the Paralympic Games fulfil an important function within our society,” NMB chief operating officer Gerald Gore said.

“We are especially keen to support organisations that cater for special needs, which is why we felt it important to give our full support to the Paralympic Games, not only through the medals and T-shirts we have donated but through supporting the Games fund-raising committee and being present throughout the Games.

“We have been impressed by the athletes that have taken part in these Games and believe there is a great future for Paralympic athletes and sportspeople in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The five-day games, which began on Friday (April 7) attracted participants from all 10 provinces, who converged on Bindura, where the games were held.

The games, which are held annually, saw athletes with a variety of disabilities competing in  several sporting disciplines, including football, netball, athletics events, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.

The games were first held in 2008 to promote sports among people with disabilities and provide an opportunity for them to compete and demonstrate their talents at national level.

Speaking on behalf of Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane, Sports and Recreation Commission Chairman Edward Siwela said the annual games were vital for fostering social cohesion.

He said the games were introduced in 2008 as a national strategy to afford the disabled an opportunity to participate in sport. The overall thrust of the games, he said, was to come up with an inclusive participatory model.

He said the National Paralympic Games and the National Youth Games would from next year be run parallel to each other.

“In 2000 and 2004 Zimbabwe won gold medals at the Paralympics Games held in Sydney and in Athens respectively. It means we have talent but we need to ensure that it is well nurtured through preparation and exposure so that we meet world class standards,” he said.

The Minister thanked all those who supported the games, both individuals and corporates.

Next year the games will be held in the Midlands Province.

Post published in: Sport

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