Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture has pledged its support for this year’s Danhiko Annual Paralympic Games scheduled for next month. This year’s Games are pencilled for October 1 to 4 with participants competing in athletics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, slalom, goal ball, netball, soccer and swimming.
This will be the 27th edition and preparations for the annual event are already underway with the budget set at US$77 319. Speaking at a briefing yesterday on the state of preparedness for the Games at Danhiko with the organisers of the event, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Andrew Langa, said they were going to financially assist the organisers.
“The reason why I came here . . . I want my ministry to also play an active role for these annual Games in terms of supporting you in whichever way. “I know we have a bus in the ministry which I believe should be accessed by you during the Games. We will also support you financially, I cannot say how much now because I will take this budget back to my office and ensure that we also do something for you here at Danhiko.
“If we can assist basketball, if we can assist our football in Zimbabwe, why would we fail to assist the Danhiko (Games)? I know that some of us we tend to forget you when we plan about Zimbabweans but you are part of this society. Disability does not mean inability, so we need to support you. I have come here to assure you that this year we will play our role.
“I don’t want to come here as minister of sports and be a stranger on the official opening day like what I have always done. I come here, I am briefed together with Amai (Grace Mugabe), which is wrong. “But I should come here and know everything and be part of you so that when Amai, our patron comes here we are singing the same anthem with you as colleagues.
You have all the support from our ministry and we will do our best to ensure that our annual games here at Danhiko are a success also this year,” said Langa. Langa paid tribute to Amai Mugabe for her continued support over the years to ensure the Games are a reality. “I am happy you have briefed me and as the Ministry of Sport, we also thank (First Lady) Dr Amai Mugabe for the support that she has always given to Danhiko.
“That is motherly love, especially where we assist those who are disabled because disability does not mean inability, I know they can do it and as long as we support them as government then they feel also as important citizens of this country,” said Langa. In his report to the minister, chairperson of the Games organising committee, Godfrey Majonga said preparations for this year’s edition started last year.
“Due to the harsh economic conditions this year, we have failed to get sponsorship from some of our traditional sponsors. “This has resulted in a very low sponsorship and as always we depend on our anchor of the Games, the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the patron of the Games Amai Grace Mugabe, has worked tirelessly to ensure the success of each event,” said Majonga.