Zim­babwe ready for Paralympics Games

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - El­lina Mh­langa Sports Re­porter

ZIM­BABWE Na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Lewis Garaba, says they are ready for the Par­a­lympic Games sched­uled for Septem­ber 7 to 18.

Zim­babwe will be send­ing para-row­ing team made up of Takudzwa Gwariro, Michelle Gar­nett, Pre­vi­ous Wiri, Mar­garet Ban­ga­jena and Jes­sica Davis, who is the coxswain and Laina Sithole will com­pete in athletics.

Garaba yes­ter­day said they were mak­ing fi­nal touches to their prepa­ra­tions and are hop­ing for the team to do their best at the Games.

Ear­lier on there were in­di­ca­tions that the na­tional Par­a­lympic com­mit­tee were fac­ing fi­nan­cial chal­lenges but Garaba yes­ter­day said they are mak­ing fi­nal touches to their prepa­ra­tions for the Games with a send-off cer­e­mony set for to­day at the Rain­bow Tow­ers.

“We just need to con­firm a few things but ev­ery­thing is un­der con­trol. Our ex­pec­ta­tion as an or­gan­i­sa­tion is that our ath­letes do well at the Games.

“Para-row­ing it’s their first time, so it’s go­ing to be a learning curve since they do not have much ex­po­sure. We are say­ing we will give them all the sup­port that we can,” said Garaba.

Zim­babwe last won a medal at the Paralympics in 2004, in Athens, Greece through El­liot Mu­jaji in the 100m race.

He had won gold in the same event at the 2000 Par­a­lympic Games in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. Since then Zim­babwe has strug­gled to get podium fin­ishes at the last two edi­tions – 2008 and 2012. Garaba said the cur­rent state is an in­di­ca­tion of the work that needs to be done if the coun­try is to chal­lenge for medals at com­pe­ti­tions of such mag­ni­tude. “It means we still have a long way to go. We need to work very hard es­pe­cially in terms of pre­par­ing our ath­letes. In the past we used to have func­tion­ing clubs but now we don’t have. “In the case of Mu­jaji they were com­ing from the mines and the clubs were func­tion­ing. So we need to pull our­selves up,” said Garaba. The para-row­ing team has been train­ing at Ma­zowe Dam un­der the guid­ance of Rachel Davis while Sithole has been train­ing in Zvisha­vane. Davis said the Games will be a good plat­form for ex­po­sure. “We have to have the per­fect race and if we have the per­fect race we can cap­i­talise on some­body who doesn’t have a per­fect race. So it we can beat an­other team wow then we will be com­ing home like we are medal­list. “But from the other side what do I want to get is ex­po­sure for Zim­babwe row­ing. Ex­po­sure for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in this coun­try who are re­ally sidelined and hidden away,” said Davis. Chef de mis­sion for the Team Zim­babwe Wit­ness Mag­u­l­ula said the team will be un­veiled to­day. “The team will be un­veiled to­mor­row (to­day). The kit is now in place. The Min­istry (of Sport and Re­cre­ation) has worked out some­thing in con­junc­tion with the SRC. We are wait­ing to fi­nalise the trav­el­ling dates,” Mag­u­l­ula said. In 2012 Zim­babwe were rep­re­sented by Mu­jaji and wheelchair ten­nis player Nyasha Mharakurwa.

Laina Sithole Mar­garet Ban­ga­jena

Pre­vi­ous Wiri

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