THE newly built ultra-modern swimming pool at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka will attract an annual maintenance cost of at least KR300,000 (K300 million).
Appearing before the Parliamentary sub-committee on Sports chaired by Sinda Member of Parliament, Levy Ngoma, National Olympic Committee (NOC) president, Miriam Moyo said the cost estimation for the maintenance of the pool built last December had totalled KR300,000.
Moyo said while it was important to have the immaculate 50-metre pool, which hosted the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Under-20 Games, maintaining it came at a huge expense.
She said maintenance of sports infrastructure was important in the continuous development of world-class athletes and that all facilities at the OYDC needed to be maintained so that more young athletes could continue to benefit from them.
"Just that swimming pool alone requires a maintenance cost of just more than K300 million over a period of 12 months. It is a very beautiful and useful structure but it is also expensive to keep in the correct standard.
"So we have gone to the Ministry of Sports to tell them that this excellent facility will need to be maintained and our director there (Clement Chileshe) told us the cost would have to be around that much," Moyo, who was flanked by her vice-president Gabriel Muyinda and secretary general Hazel Kennedy, said.
The OYDC is owned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through its Zambian chapter, NOC but the swimming pool, which has a water heating facility, the first of its kind in the country, is owned by Government.
She said the funding that the OYDC gets from Government was too little to maintain the famous 90-day-legacy pool and there was need for Government to increase its allocation not just to the pool but the entire sports complex.
Moyo said with Zambia planning to reap an Olympic gold medal by 2020, it was important that local athletes were exposed to top-class infrastructure while their coaches needed to be trained to develop medal winners.
Zambia has never won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in all 11 appearances, the nation only has two medals - a silver won by 400 metre hurdles specialist Samuel Matete and a bronze from featherweight boxer Keith 'Spinks' Mwila.
And Kennedy said the IOC was still actively funding the maintenance of the OYDC but that the multi-sports facility would soon be weaned off, hence the need for a proper programme to keep the centre in good shape.
"We shall not permanently be getting funding from the IOC for the centre as we shall be required to soon start fending for our selves and that is a big challenge, so we will need a plan to keep it well-sustained so that the high standards are maintained," she said.