The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Makhosini Hlongwane says the revised Zimbabwe National Youth Games with a budget of well over US$900 000 will roar into life on the 20th of August at three venues Bulawayo, Hwange and Victoria Falls.
He said despite some logistical challenges all resources are expected to arrive on Saturday (tomorrow) morning for the procurement of services after his ministry disbursed among other things fuel for 10 buses per province to ferry athletes to the games.
The Sports Minister was giving an update to journalists on the nationwide implementation of the Ministry of Sport and Recreation’s revised Zimbabwe National Youth Games strategy and the extent to which the blueprint has been embraced across the country.
Minister Hlongwane added the government needs to invest more in infrastructure development although he was happy with preparations so far.
On the controversial affiliation fees, the Sports Minister said fees had been reduced from US$80 to US$20 per athlete adding there was need for an even further reduction in future to ensure mass participation is achieved.
The blueprint which was adopted by cabinet on 2 May was meant to accelerate the inclusion of communities in sport and recreation participation from grassroots to national level.
The revised Zimbabwe National Youth Games strategy is the Ministry of Sport and Recreation’s framework for mass national participation in sport and recreation with talent being drawn from ward, district and provincial up-to national level in line with the community sport and recreation club system.
The games have also seen the inclusion of five additional provinces, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), Zimbabwe Tertiary Institutions Sports Union (ZITISU) and agricultural colleges making them 15 provinces in total.
22 sport codes have been identified for the first phase of the 2017 edition and these include athletics, basketball, boxing, chess, cycling, cricket, darts, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, handball, martial arts, netball, pool, rugby, swimming, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and table tennis.
The Zimbabwe National Youth Games are aimed at integrating previously marginalised talent into the mainstream sport and recreation activities of the nation.
They provide a platform to contribute towards the realisation of national goals such as youth empowerment, inclusion, employment creation, unity tolerance, entrepreneurship, economic development, nationhood and ubuntu.