Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
FIVE paralympians from the Victoria Falls Wheelchair Warriors’ Club had a good outing at the Achilles Hope and Possibilities 24-hour Handcycle Relay in Durban, South Africa where they beat 10 other clubs to finish in top position.
The two-day invitational event was held on May 25 and 26 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Thirteen clubs had registered although 10, including the Victoria Falls-based Zimbabwe representatives, participated at the event whose aim was to raise funds for charity, with Ethembeni School for the Disabled in Durban the main beneficiary.
The event was a 24-hour long relay covering 500km around the stadium in which each team member finished some laps contributing to the team’s total wheelchair run.
Victoria Falls Wheelchair Warriors Club, whose team comprised coach Walter Ndlovu, captain Innocent Tevedzai, Umguza-based Clifford Donga, Bulawayo-based Silayezelo Phiri and Sazini Banda completed the set distance ahead of other teams to win a trophy and three wheelchairs.
No timing was used.
In an interview after their return this week, Ndlovu said the event was a success.
“We were welcomed well while the race was interesting and competitive too. We took a player from Umguza so that we sow some seeds as we prepare to build a provincial team from all districts. The trip gave the club exposure although it was for charity,” he said.
Ndlovu reiterated his call for commercialisation of paralympic sport saying the country must stop treating such disciplines as charity as he also appealed for sponsorship.
South African paralympian, Guy Oliver Sinclair, who invited and hosted the club, was touched by its performance.
“This was a relay event which was held over 24 hours as teams could participate and rest until they completed the set distance.
“It was a great event as all sorts of able-bodied people came and spent time with people with disabilities. All went well and we are happy for the winning Victoria Falls team,” he said.
Priscilla Mhlanga, who was the Vic Falls Wheelchair Warriors Club medic, said: “This is a great achievement not only for Vic Falls but for Zimbabwe as a whole. We wish that the sport could attract sponsorship so it goes forward.”
Sinclair and Tombs Motorways sponsored the team with transport from Victoria Falls to Durban.
Victoria Falls Wheelchair Warriors Club has produced professional wheelchair-bound players such as Tawana Luther Ziki who was identified by Ndlovu at Danhiko and is now playing wheelchair basketball in Italy.
Ziki was the first Zimbabwean to represent the country in wheelchair basketball in 2009. — @ncubeleon