THE stage is set for this year’s Danhiko Annual Paralympic Games starting tomorrow in Harare with over 2 000 participants expected to grace the event.
The rescheduled Games, which were supposed to have been held in September, were moved to this weekend following the cholera outbreak that hit Harare and they are running until Sunday. Participants will compete in wheelchair basketball, goal ball, wheelchair tennis, soccer, slalom and swimming. Games Organising Committee chairman Godfrey Majonga said the postponement of the Games had some negative effects after a team from Zambia that had confirmed its participation earlier on indicating they are no longer coming.
“Before we postponed, Zambia was coming, now that we postponed due to cholera, it’s unfortunate Zambia is no longer coming. So there are no foreign teams and we have got 103 local teams.
“We are looking forward to celebrating the 30th edition of the Games. But the disruption by cholera really threw things off because now the budgets and estimations we had done . . . rices are now three times or four times over.
“And some sponsors are even saying because of the situation now they are unable to provide, to honour the pledges they had made in September,” said Majonga.
Majonga said they will not be discouraged and was looking forward to another successful edition.
The official opening of the Games is on Saturday.
“We had a meeting in October with our teams and team managers. They are really looking forward enthusiastically in spite of the tough times. That’s why the response has been so good – 103 teams, 609 officials coming through. So we are really looking forward to the Games. And some sponsors have remained with us but unfortunately they were not able to top up on what they had promised. One team has already arrived from Bulawayo,” said Majonga.
Most of the teams are scheduled to arrive today and by tomorrow morning all teams should be in since competition is starting later in the day.
Defending champions Jairos Jiri Kadoma will be out to retain the title when the Games get underway tomorrow.