zoc.jpgScores of young aspiring sports stars converged at Prince Edward High School yesterday where they showcased their talent in an inter-district competition of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee for young athletes.

The pilot project for athletes in the 13-15 years age group was successfully implemented last year through the Olympic Sports Centre and benefited over 7 000 participants.

The demand and relevance of the programme compelled the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee to expand the initiative to target over 11 000 young athletes this year.

The programme was also decentralised to seven educational districts of Harare.

All seven districts participated in the inter-district competition which showcased sporting prowess in various sporting disciplines at Prince Edward High School.

The coordinator of the Olympic Sports Centre, Chiedza Mafunga said the programme has been fruitful as it has brought a lot of young talent to the fore.

Mafunga said: “We have identified a lot of talent from this programme. We have managed to pick 15 boys and 15 girls for who we are putting a special project in place to continue with their training.

“Talent is being identified and we are going to put in place a programme to capture these youngsters at an early age.”

Mafunga also underlined the importance of nurturing talent from grassroots level and urged national sport association to develop talent from a tender age.

“As ZOC through the Olympic Sports Centre we are saying that grassroots development is very important not only for us but for all sporting associations, it’s important that they capture talent early and put structures in place to develop the talent,”  said Mafunga.

The 13-15 athletics programme is an initiative of the International Association of Athletics Federations, which the Olympafrica Centre is implementing through the Olympafrica Foundation programmes and caters for athletes between the ages of 13 and 15.