The inaugural Zimbabwe Invitational Camp and Regatta involving five African countries kicked off with a pre-race training camp that commenced at Mazowe Dam yesterday.
South Africa, Malawi, Uganda and Lesotho join the hosts in an event organised by the Rowing Association of Zimbabwe (Raz) as a way of strengthening teams ahead of the Africa Youth Games to be held in Algeria next month.
BY Munyaradzi Madzokere
Raz is expecting a total of 45 athletes housed at Mazowe Hotel to take part in an event that will culminate in a competitive regatta on Saturday June 30.
The event will also see five Congolese refugees selected from a Chipinge refugee camp in what Raz described as a long term project.
“Today (Monday) is the start of our invitational rowing camp and regatta. I am on my way to the bus terminal to pick up five refugees that we selected to join us for the week. Throughout the day teams from Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Uganda will join us,” tournament director Rachel Davis told NewsDay Sport.
“It’s the first time that we are hosting such an event in this country. The intention is to help strengthen the rowers in the region in preparation for the continental youth games happening in Algeria next month.
“It’s our intention to make this an annual event for sure but at the moment we are desperate for sponsors. Most of my volunteer team are floating costs out of their own pockets to make this event a success. The refugees are part of a longer term project by Raz,” she added.
Italian coach Andrea Bianco and Jessica Davis from Canada with the help of three local coaches as well as coaches from the respective countries will take the athletes through the rowing camp that concludes on Friday.
“The training camp is all week as some of the rowers especially the refugee are new to the sport. I ran trials last Monday at the refugee camp in Chipinge and selected them from over 50 people who tried out. They have never been in a boat before interestingly,” Davis said.
Zimbabwe will also field some of the best junior rowers in the country who represented the country at the International DRV junior regatta in Munich, SA Nationals and in Italy this April and May.