InsideSport: Sudden change of heart is refreshing

It surely has been long since Zimbabwe won an Olympic Games medal and the country cannot continue to be the fall guys of the international sporting world.

ON October 3, the Zimbabwe government splashed out a total of US$1 600 each to the netball team that did duty at the 2023 World Cup finals in South Africa.

It was a refreshing turn of events from an authority that has never been known for its love for sport, an industry that is widely followed all over the globe.

This should be the starting point for many things to come as the Zimbabwe government makes a change of heart to love an industry that it used to neglect.

What we want to see is all national teams being sponsored by the government as happens in other countries not only when the team is at the African or World Championships but in its preparations and on the road to the finals.

We have the Olympic Games coming in France in 2024 and the Zimbabwean team for the games should be supported by being financed to take part in as many international competitions as they can.

In fact, preparations for the 2024 Games should have continued after the last games in Tokyo with Donata Katai (pictured) and Peter Wetzlarl being given the opportunity to compete regularly on the international stage.

Since that did not happen, now is not too early or too late to begin preparations for the 2024 games bearing in mind that we had some athletes who showed promise the last time around.

Surely, Zimbabwe does not have too many athletes who meet Olympic qualification standards and as such the athletes for the 2024 games are already known and those should be given the support to compete regularly on the international scene to have an idea of the sort of competition they will meet in Paris.

It surely has been long since Zimbabwe won an Olympic Games medal and the country cannot continue to be the fall guys of the international sporting world.

Coincidentally, the last Zimbabwe Olympic medals were won by now Sports minister Kirsty Coventry way back in 2008 and the minister knows what is required to make one an Olympic medal winner.

The government, however, cannot just chip in without an idea of what is happening in our sport and the sporting leadership should up its game as far as seeking assistance is concerned.

Of course, sport needs financial assistance from the government but the authorities cannot just throw away money simply because they want to support sport but can only do so where it is worth it.

What we also want to see is the English type of sports administration in which all sports codes are housed under the same roof with the athletics office next to that of boxing and going in that order.

This ensures that the sports administrators share ideas as far as development is concerned and sport stands to benefit through such a set up.

We used to have this set up at the National Sports Stadium sometime back but that order was hacked to pieces due to the heavy rentals the then stadia owners, the ministry of local government and housing demanded.

Now that the stadium is under the ministry of Sport, it makes sense to rent out the offices to all sports codes at a minimal cost or at no cost at all.

The current system in which some sporting associations operate from the boot of cars makes a mockery of a country that has serious sporting ambitions.

We need to be serious with our sporting goals.

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