Zim paralympics team struggles to raise funds for Rio Games
ITS fifteen days before the Paralympic Games start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee president Michael Bulangango has revealed they are yet to raise funds needed for the trip. The Games are scheduled for September 7 to 18. ZNPC want to send a delegation of 11 – six athletes and five officials - to participate in athletics and pararowing led by Witness Magulula as the chef de mission.
Bulangango said they are still waiting for the grants from the Rio organisers which are supposed to be given to the participating countries and they submitted their budget to the government last week.
However, it is the time left between now and the commencement of the Games that is of concern.
The IPC have already indicated that there is going to be major budget cuts for the Games according to the website.
“Our preparations are going well. We have a team for para-rowers, they are doing their training at Mazowe dam.
“The other athlete is for athletics, she is in Zvishavane but we will be moving her to Masvingo.
“We wanted a camp but the funds are not forthcoming. We are also still anticipating to get funds from Rio for transportation of athletes.
“Our chef de mission is keeping track of every bit of information (on the grants), so that when we go there we are sure of everything moving smoothly. But despite that we have already submitted our budget to Government covering all that,” said Bulangango.
Yesterday the chef de mission, Magulula said they are looking at around $80 000. Bulagango said they are optimistic of the team’s participation despite the challenges.
“We hope our Government that has never failed us at any particular point will come to the rescue and ensure our athletes participate in Rio. It is an opportunity we get once in four years and we wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity.
“The budget was submitted last week. If we don’t get the money it means we fail to go to Rio but it’s something we are not expecting.
“We know the economic situation is not favourable but our participation there raises the country’s flag.
“I will admit we submitted our budget a little bit late. But what delayed the budget is we still needed to qualify for these Games,” said the ZNPC president.
The national Paralympic committee had hoped to unveil the team tomorrow but Bulagango said they have to wait until all is settled. In 2012, Zimbabwe were represented by Nyasha Mharakurwa in wheelchair tennis and athlete Elliot Mujaji.