By Ellina Mhlanga
THE second Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa Athletes’ Forum got underway in Harare yesterday with several topics related to athletes lined up for deliberation. The forum, taking place at Rainbow Towers, ends tomorrow.
Some of the topics being discussed include support for athletes, before, during and after the Olympic Games, anti-doping, outreach and education, effective athletes communication, competition, manipulation and match-fixing.
Prevention of harassment and abuse in sport, among other key issues, will also be discussed.
The International Olympic Committee wants to place athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement.
IOC Athletes’ Commission, chaired by IOC member in Zimbabwe, Kirsty Coventry, serves as a link between the athletes and the IOC.
The initiative of the continental athletes’ forums is a brainchild of Coventry and they are set to strengthen the voice of athletes worldwide.
“I think it’s always hard for athletes. They are always seen just as athletes and they are sometimes seen as not being able to bring valuable ideas and movements forward at board level,” said Coventry.
“I think that’s completely naïve and wrong.
“But the athletes also have to find the confidence within themselves to come forward and hopefully this forum will enable the athletes to feel more confident, to feel that they know exactly what their purpose and their goal is.