Zimbabwe ready for Paralympics Games
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