BY MICHAEL KARIATI
The developments that have accompanied the Zimbabwe team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games do not make good reading for Zimbabwe’s sports lovers.
The whole nation is shocked by the composition of the Zimbabwean delegation which comprises of a few athletes with the majority being officials and for that matter from the administration and political arena.
How can Zimbabwe send a team of five athletes only but accompanied by a huge contingent of 13 officials while Botswana for example are sending 10 athletes and only three officials and those officials being coaches.
The truth is that the Olympic Games are not for officials to go on a fully-paid up holiday but for the athletes to compete and win medals and Zimbabwe should know right so.
Fine only two athletes, Scott Vincent and Peter Purcell-Gilpin met the qualifying standards for the Olympics while Ngoni Makusha, Donata Katai and Peter Wetzlar are going via a special dispensation but the question is : Why the large contingent of officials ?
This is surely a waste of financial resources which could have been channeled towards junior sport developmental projects or could have been used by the athletes to prepare themselves fully for the Games.
Or alternatively, the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee could have identified a few talented youngsters to take to the Games to learn one or two things for future participation.
Why do we have to send two senior officials from the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee – the ZOC President and the ZOC Chief Executive Officer ?
What role does the Sport and Recreation Commission have to play in this delegation when there are already two people from the ZOC which is in charge of all Olympic events.
In addition to the two ZOC supremos, there is also the Chef de Mission and the team administrator.
On top of the SRC chairman Gerald Mlotshwa, the government is also sending the sports minister, Kirsty Coventry, the chairman of the portfolio committee on sports Mathias Tongofa as well as the minister’s PA, Tariro Kadzirange.
The other question is : What exactly is the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport going to Tokyo to do ? Or even the minister’s PA ?
Ironically, our political leaders have never taken sport seriously as evidenced by the neglect and lack of financial attention that sport always gets.
What we have only seen from them is the jostling for air tickets to such events like the Olympics and the World Cup and the grandstanding on the podium when a team does well on the international front — and nothing else.
There is also the position of golfer Scott Vincent.
How can someone who campaigns regularly on the international scene be joined by a coach from Zimbabwe who doesn’t have an idea of the golfer’s limitations or strengths ?
Since 1980 when Zimbabwe was admitted to international sport, the country has always given more slots to officials than athletes on international sporting missions, something that needs to come to an end.
Much of the money from sporting associations or the little that comes from the government has always been spent on the officials instead of the athletes who do the job on the field.
We hope that very soon that attitude will change to give the real sportsmen the opportunity to compete at the highest level instead of sending high ranking officials on a sight seeing escapade.
- For your views, comments, and suggestions, email@example.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.