The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Special Olympics Zim Board to Sit

THE Special Olympics Zimbabwe board is expected to sit for the first time this year today with several agendas to be discussed. The new committee is now set to meet in the capital for the first time following the acceptance of Special Olympics Zimbabwe back into the international family this month. For the past four years, sports programmes for people with intellectual disabilities have been in the shadows after Zimbabwe's membership was temporarily suspended because the interim executive board that took over in 2008 failed to run sustainable events.

And at today's meeting, the committee will, among other things, seek to map the way forward after the re-admission on the international forum.

The new committee is now set to meet today to finalise their strategic plan and also try to recover the assets held by the previous executive and the drafting of a calendar for the whole year.

There is also need to have the data base of SOZ's members.

Special Olympics was founded in Zimbabwe in 1987 but had almost folded because the interim group has not been very active.

Molly Matambanashe is the new national director while John Muringani is the sports director and the duo is excepted to spearhead all-year round sports programmes for the athletes with mental challenges.

Matambanashe could not be drawn into discussing today's meeting but promised that they will give more details after the indaba.

"We will meet on Saturday (today) but we have no much details as yet as our spokesperson is in Kenya.

"We are going to sit as a board and chart the way forward for this year which I believe will be successful," said Matambanashe.

According to the latest official data, there are nearly 2 000 athletes with intellectual challenges in this country and Zimbabwe, who missed out on the last World Special Olympics Games in Greece in 2011, have now set a target of sending a team to the next edition in Los Angeles in 2015.

Zimbabwe took part at the 2007 Games in Shanghai, China, and were represented by 19 athletes. SOZ will also hold outreach programmes and have identified football, golf, bocce (bowls), athletics and swimming as the key sports for now.

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