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THE Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (Zoc) has hailed the splendid performance by team Zimbabwe at the 3rd African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria held from July 18 to 28.
BY GARISH PHIRI
Zimbabwe managed to scoop 10 medals, having travelled with a group that comprised of 37 athletes from seven sport codes, including a five-a-side hockey team.
Rowing collected five medals and attained two slots for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Argentina. The girls hockey team, who won a bronze medal, also earned a slot as one of three African representatives at the YOG in October 2018.
Zimbabwe were placed 17 out of 54 countries at the Games.
Zoc chief executive officer, Anna Mguni, was pleased with the fighting spirit displayed by the team despite the odds staked against them.
“It is important to take into consideration the relatively small size of the team compared to other nations. For many of the athletes the experience was entirely new and different, with physical and mental conditions out of their normal comfort zones. The athletes adjusted to the changes and like other nations experiencing the challenges of heat, humidity, language barriers and different living environments, they undertook their tour of duty well,” she said.
The next Africa Youth Games will be held in Maseru, Lesotho in 2022 and ZOC is already looking ahead.
Zimbabwe is expected to field a set of strong young athletes in preparation for the next similar event.
“We look forward to preparing and participating in more sport codes. Preparations need to begin now through the science based identification and nurturing of athletes who will be in the 16 to 18 age group in 2022.
“Exposure to elite competition is critical for the athletes between now and 2022, beginning from a low level and increasing in frequency and intensity as the event draws closer. In addition, it is hoped that the games will have a wider range of qualification event for the next Youth Olympic Games,” Mguni said.