By Ellina Mhlanga
THERE has been an outcry over the years over lack of resources when it comes to supporting national teams and athletes so that they produce podium performances at different levels.
Zimbabwe this year sent a small team for the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games compared to the previous edition due to limited funding.
In 2016 they picked 96 medals but with a bigger team to finish second overall.
Zimbabwe, who usually come second behind South Africa, were fifth this time around with 51 medals. They had 62 athletes competing in athletics, athletics for the visually-impaired, football (girls), netball, swimming and tennis.
South Africa defended their title after picking 145 medals.
Sports Commission director-general, Prince Mupazviriho, who attended the Games in Botswana, said there is need to find a way to work around the limited resources.
“My observation when I attended some of the games when I was in Botswana it’s not so much about having the bigger team. It’s so much about having quality athletes who are able to compete at a certain level.
“So if you start by making it very huge you are stretching the little resources that you have too thinly to the extent that you will not be able to prepare athletes adequately. So this is critical, the issue of resources,” said Mupazviriho.
Mupazviriho said another area of concern is facilities because sometimes athletes fail to access standard facilities that match those they are exposed to during regional, continental and international events.