Olympic Solidarity supports Zim team for Algeria 2007
The disciplines are athletics, cycling, shooting, swimming and tennis. Among the short-listed athletes are Linda Davidson, Conway Mohamed, Dean Hayes, Dave Martin and Abel Muchenje from cycling, Michael Nicholson shooting, Tim Ferris, Moira Fraser, Nicholas James, Maxine Heard, Sherilyn de Klerk and Richard Sainsbury swimming and Nigel Badza, Genius Chidzikwe, Takanyi Garan’anga, Tanya Gombera, Fadzai Masiyazi and Fadzai Mawisire of tennis. The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe has also put in seven nominations.
“We carefully selected athletes with potential, those that missed out on Olympic Solidarity scholarships which went to the likes of swimmers Kirsty Coventry and Heather Brand, but who have enough promise and the greatest potential and realistic chances of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China,” said ZOC chief executive Robert Mutsauki.
However, cognisant of the old saying of there being many a slip between the cup and the lip, Mutsauki pointed out that even if some of the beneficiaries fail to qualify for the Olympics, their making it to the continental games is, in itself, a laudable effort that deserves support.
He said ZOC will work with the country’s supreme sports regulatory authority, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), and the national sporting associations concerned, to ensure that the athletes get the best possible grounding for their participation at Algeria 2007.
Mutsauki said given that the SRC has the mandate to select, prepare and send teams to the All-Africa Games, the fact that Olympic Solidarity has chipped in with the financial support that it has given means that the local sports authorities can now cast their nets wider for more athletes to include in the Zimbabwe team for the 2007 Games. He pointed out that the value of the Olympic Solidarity support can best be appreciated if one realises that, for example, of the US$10 thousand allocated to Nicholson, the bigger chunk will be swallowed up in purchasing the ammunition he needs for his sport but which is not available locally and so has to be imported, something that would be otherwise difficult to do given the scarcity of foreign currency in the country.