By Sports Reporter
Zimbabwean sports fans have poured scorn on the bloated delegation of at least 13 officials which will accompany only five athletes who will represent the country at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to take place from July 23 to August 8 in Japan.
The country will field its lowest number of athletes at the Olympic Games since independence in 1980 with only five athletes expected to lift the country’s banner in Tokyo.
🔴5 Zimbabwean athletes are attending the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with more than 10 delegates. Tell us what you think, how many people should attend international & regional sports tournaments, & why? @online_zifa @ZimbabweSrc @KirstyCoventry pic.twitter.com/Feru9qdVdj
— NewsDay Zimbabwe (@NewsDayZimbabwe) July 8, 2021
The athletes include swimmers Donata Katai and Peter Wetzlar, sprinter Ngoni Makusha, rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin and golfer Scott Vincent
Failure to qualify for the Olympics by local athletes has been blamed on lack of meaningful investment in sports development by the government and other stakeholders.
However, despite having a small team, officials dominate the delegation with 13 in total expected to be on the plane to Tokyo.
Zimbabwe Olympic Committee say 5 athletes will be travelling to the Olympics- accompanying them will be:
5 coaches & technical personnel.
3 medical personnel + officials.
3 Country delegation (frm govt).
2 Zim Olympic committee members. pic.twitter.com/w9xY4wUxTZ
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) July 8, 2021
In addition to the athletes’ coaches and Zimbabwe Olympic Committee officials, other officials who will be part of the delegation to the Tokyo Olympic Games are Sports and Recreation Commission chairman Gerald Mlotshwa, the parliamentary portfolio committee for sport chairman Mathias Tongofa and Tariro Kadzirange, who is the PA to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry.
Minister Coventry, who is the country’s most successful Olympian, was not named on the Zimbabwe delegation as she is expected to attend the Tokyo Olympic Games in her capacity as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s powerful executive board.
In Zimbabwe they are sending 5 athletes and 15 officials…. In Malawi they are sending 5 athletes and 10 officials…. I am wondering… is it the Olympics of officials or athletes… Africa and its people..sorry its leaders… leave the povo out of this!!!!
— Elias Mambo🇿🇼🇲🇼 (@elias_mambo) July 7, 2021
The Zimbabwe team at the Olympic Games will be led by the ZOC vice president Fredreck, who was recently named the country’s chef de mission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Ndlovu took over the chef de mission role from Thabani Gonye, who will be travelling to the Games in his capacity as president. Gonye was elected ZOC president in April.
As the number of African Athletes going to #Tokyo2020 shrinks, the number of officials is increasing. Africa is a village. There are no better Africans even those who think they are Deputy Europeans
— African (@ali_naka) July 8, 2021
Other ZOC officials include the organisation’s chief executive Stephen Mudawarima and team administrator Memory Pakati.
Another curious inclusion on the Team Zimbabwe delegation is that of the Zimbabwe Golf Association president Mufaro Chivonivoni, who will travel to the Olympics as “coach” to professional golfer Scott Vincent.
Meanwhile ZOC has defended the high number of officials in Zimbabwe’s delegation.
Japan’s PM Suga has just announced a #COVID19 state of emergency in Tokyo, with significant limitations on the Olympics set to start in 2 weeks.
— Mhofu (@mhofela_mhofu) July 8, 2021
“The Government delegation is travelling under the National Olympic Committee Transferable Guests Accreditation. The IOC approved accreditation guidelines allow NOCs to invite Key Stakeholders to the games. Transferable means they will all not be there at the same time but one after the other,” ZOC general secretary Mudawarima said in a statement.
— Ndazalamo (@Ndazalamo1) July 8, 2021
“The Invited Guests are the Chairman of the SRC and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. These are key positions which have a serious bearing on the trajectory of our sport. The Olympic games provide the biggest opportunity and exposure to observe best practise and world class standards.”
He added: “The inclusion of the Portfolio Committee Chairperson stemmed from the realization of the need to expose our legislative support systems to high performance sport and its standard requirements which have been perennially underestimated in terms of budgetary support. It also emanates from the need for experiential learning by way of participation for informed guidance and legislative support of sport development and promotion.”
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