The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
For Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) president Admire Masenda, the Covid-19 pandemic has come with both the good and the bad.
The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to next year, has given the country an opportunity to add to the number of athletes who will participate at the premier global sporting event.
“We were dealing with no more than four athletes that had either qualified or still had hopes of qualifying, and what the extension of the Tokyo Games does is give us more time to try to get those numbers up,” said Masenda.
ZOC has since secured funding from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will help them prepare for the quadrennial Games.
“The problem we continue to have is with team sports, as we are yet to get any that have qualified.
“Usually team sports help get our numbers up as was the case with the Rio Games where the Mighty Warriors qualified, and we managed to send arguably our largest contingent since independence.
“As it pertains to next year’s Tokyo Games, we have secured funding from the IOC, which will be channelled to the teams and individuals still within a shout to qualify,” he said.
ZOC will today meet in Harare for their annual general meeting, during which the electoral General Assembly will be the topical issue.
Although the initial meeting that was scheduled for August 2, was postponed due to a spike in Covid-19 cases and new lockdown restrictions, today’s indaba will be held in an experimental hybrid format.
“The meeting was initially supposed to be held last weekend, but had to be pushed back a week due to the spike in Covid-19 cases and travel restrictions.
“We did not want to inconvenience anyone and decided to hold it this weekend (Sunday), with those members unable to attend communicating virtually, while others will be there physically.
“We will indeed adhere to every regulation, like social distancing and sanitising the venue.
“On the agenda will be our next elections, which are held a year after every Olympics.
“The postponement of the Tokyo Games has come with its own complications and the general assembly will decide whether to go on with the elections in April next year or push them to after the Games.
“The IOC has ruled that the onus is on us to decide the dates,” he said.
Masenda also spoke of ZOC’s activities during the pandemic.
“We received a US$60 000 grant to help some of the victims of Cyclone Idai, and we have been busy on that front.
“We have disbursed food packs to some of the victims that were displaced by the cyclone, we donated 2 500 masks to the region and donated roughly 20 thermometers.
“We identified five schools from different regions in Chimanimani and gave them four thermometers each,” he said.