Zim par­a­lympics team strug­gles to raise funds for Rio Games

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sports Re­porter

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.

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