Courtney Matende in Gweru
THE National Youth and Paralympic Games ended in Gweru on Saturday with Youth, Sport Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry urging athletes to put their nation first.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, she urged athletes to give their best when representing the nation.
“I became a gold medalist at the Olympics because I put the national flag first before anything. I’m hoping that there are going to be future Olympians from this team.
“ Nothing comes easy. I was nine years old when I said I wanted to win gold for Zimbabwe and my dad looked down at me smiling and saying do you know how many medals you need to be there? And 12 years later that’s when I won my first gold medal and I must say it was not easy,” said Coventry.
The National Youth and Paralympic Games’ torch was handed to Mashonaland West province, which will host the 2020 games.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavhima commended the local organising committee for raising the bar with an exceptional games edition.
“The assignment was not an easy one, but because of the unwavering support that we received from various stakeholders and partners, we managed to deliver the games. Although I am happy with the work that was done by my local organising committee, there are lessons we learnt along the way,” Mavhima said.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Apollonia Munzverengi said the bar set by Midlands was high and she was in the process of setting up a team to make the next edition a resounding success.
“You have set the pace and given us a huge challenge to meet. I take the challenge and I am already in the process of setting up a team that will surely make these games continue to grow,” Munzverengi said.