YOUTH, Sports, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, has hailed sports federations hosting international events in the country.
She said this was important for the promotion of sports tourism and international relations. Coventry was speaking at the launch of the Africa Sporting Shooting Championships, and the Africa Compak Sporting which will be held at Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls next week.
She said international tournaments in Zimbabwe were good for the country.
Zimbabwe will also host the Bonaqua Troutbeck Triathlon African Cup in Nyanga this weekend.
"We are happy to be the host of several sporting disciplines during this month of February, which include the Bonaqua Troutbeck African Triathlon Union Sprint Triathlon African Cup, Africa Sporting Shooting Championships and the Africa Compak Sporting," she told a media conference.
"A total of 10 countries, namely South Africa, Tunisia, Namibia, Egypt, Mauritius, Brazil, Switzerland and Syria, have confirmed their participation in this year's triathlon event.
"The other two events, the Africa Sporting Shooting Championships and the Africa Compak Sporting have attracted 17 countries which are Britain, United States of America, France, Canada, Greece, Russia, German, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands, Namibia, South Africa, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Australia and Zimbabwe.
"They will all converge in Victoria Falls.
"We are, indeed, delighted to be hosting these tournaments, especially noting the composition and spatial distribution of member countries participating.
"It is our considered view that hosting these events on Zimbabwean soil underlines the strides taken by the country in sport development." She said hosting such events plays a pivotal role in boosting the cause of International Diplomacy.
"The two events, in our view the events, will play a pivotal role in softening agents of International Diplomacy by embracing athletes from the combined more than 20 countries visiting the country," she said.
"This will also help in providing a platform for performance and skill-enhancement for our athletes."
Shooting Federation of Zimbabwe president, Michael Nicholson, said all was in place for them to host one of the biggest shooting competitions on the continent.
"We are proud to announce that 26-time world champion, George Digweed, among other top international shooters, has confirmed his participation at the event which we will host.
"The last time Zimbabwe hosted the event was in 2000, also in Victoria Falls, and therefore this year is the perfect opportunity to welcome back former participants and showcase the best Zimbabwe has to offer.
"This year, the Clay Target Association of Zimbabwe is delighted to welcome competitors from around the world to this prestigious tournament, which will be held from February the 25 to 29 at the Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls.
"This unique event combines Africa's top Sporting Clays contest with Africa´s premier tourist destination, for what promises to be a world class event."