Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FIRST Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa has challenged the corporate world to join hands with the Government in supporting the upcoming National Youth and Paralympic Games to be staged in the Midlands Province.
This year will see the Youth and Paralympic Games running concurrently in Gweru.
The Games are set to be held in two blocks, with the first one comprising the Under-13 and Under-18 Youth Games as well as the Under-18 Paralympic athletes expected to take off on Wednesday in Gweru.
It will run until August 20 while the second block for the Under-23 Youth Games and Open age Paralympic Games are scheduled for August 20 to 28.
However, due to an outbreak of typhoid in Gweru, the Sports Commission have indicated that they are now waiting for advice from the Ministry of Health and Child Care on whether they should continue as scheduled or postpone the Games.
But as part of preparations the hosting province in conjunction with the Sports Commission held a fund-raising dinner last Friday at Rainbow Towers in Harare.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Prisca Mupfumira, the First Lady, who was the guest of honour at the function, urged the corporate world to come on board.
“Since the inception of the Zimbabwe National Youth Games and the National Paralympic Games in 2003 and 2008 respectively the Games have been bankrolled by the Government.
“Although this is highly commendable indeed, Government alone won’t be able to provide the development investment necessary for growth and creating excelling sports-persons able to win competitions in world international events.
“Therefore I would humbly make a passionate appeal to the corporate world to partner the Government in hosting the 2018 edition of the Youth and Paralympic Games in order to create a platform for young people and persons living with disabilities to exhibit their talents and skills.
“Ladies and gentlemen, throughout the world all successful major sporting events have come about through joint efforts of Government and the corporate sector,” said Mnangagwa.
The First Lady said for local sport to reach its full potential as one of the key economic drivers there is need for investment in the development of athletes.
“Sport as we all well appreciate is no longer a past activity since it has revolved to become one of the key economic drivers across the globe. In order to attain such a level there is need for considerable investment in the development of the athletes, provision of adequate sporting equipment in addition to infrastructure,” she said.
The fund-raising dinner had four table categories — platinum, gold, silver and bronze — with the organisers targeting to raise $50 000. And they got around $78 000.
The platinum tables were going for $5 000, gold $2 000, silver $1 000 and bronze $500.
Sports Commission business development and marketing director Daniel Kuwengwa said $40 000 of the amount came from PHD’s Prophet Walter Magaya.
“The target was at $50 000 and we raised $78 000, $40 000 came from Magaya and $38 000 from the tables. There were some balls and two Dynamos jerseys that were sold and it fetched around $450,” said Kuwengwa.
PHD Ministries, ZRP and Harare Polytechnic were among those that bought the platinum tables.
NSSA, FBC, Agribank, Bindura University of Science Education and Great Zimbabwe University are some of those that bought the gold tables.
Besides the fund-raising initiatives, some of the funds will come from the provinces as they are paying $70 per person in affiliation fees.
Some of the guests that graced Friday’s function include Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa, Principal Director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Benson Dube, who was representing Minister Kazembe Kazembe and the Games chief executive James Muvirimi Chivivi.