The Ministry of Sport and Recreation has confirmed the postponement of the rebranded Zimbabwe National Youth Games which were scheduled for Friday, to next week (Aug 21) to give ample time to the participating provinces to register for the sporting event which is expected to attract 16 000 athletes and officials.

In a telephone interview, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Recreation, Dr Benson Dube confirmed the development saying the decision was made to ensure that the athletes have enough time to prepare and to also join others in celebrating the heroes and defense forces holidays.

The athletes and officials are expected to start arriving in Matabeleland North Province this Saturday with the games set to roar into life by the 21st of August.

According to the ministry, the official closing and prize giving ceremony will take place on the 26th of August.

Meanwhile, the Sport and Recreation Commission officials, Ministry of Sport officials and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) team held a meeting in Victoria Falls to assess the state of preparedness ahead of the games.

Director in the Ministry of Sport and Recreation, Mrs Eugenia Chidhakwa said she is pleased with the preparations and is upbeat of a successful sporting event.

Most of the provinces are however still to pay the affiliation fees according to information gathered.

National youth games LOC chief executive officer, Mr Bursil Dube said some of the equipment to be used for the games has started arriving at the respectively centres.

There will not be major changes in terms of the distribution of the disciplines with volleyball matches previously scheduled for Bulawayo now set to be held in Hwange while rugby matches rumored to have been moved to Bulawayo will be held in Victoria Falls.

Government is targeting to transform the annual games into a mini-olympic.

This year’s rebranded Zimbabwe National Youths Games will be held under the theme, “Inspiring National Development Through Talent Identification, Talent Development and Excellence in Sports and Recreation”.