By Eugene Majuru and Anthony Robinson in London
Athletes representing Zimbabwe in this year’s Paralympics were welcomed at a luncheon hosted by the Zimbabwean Embassy in London today August 28. The 12 member delegation was in high spirits as they await the opening ceremony due on August 29.
Ambassador Gabriel Machinga
Team Zimbabwe Paralympics Chef De Mission Lewis Garaba
Elliot Mujaji and Nyasha Mharakurwa are the 2 athletes representing Zimbabwe in this years games. They will participate in the 100m and wheel chair tennis events.
This is the first time Zimbabwe is taking place in the wheelchair tennis events which is expected to generate a lot of interest and support for future games.
Mujaji will be retiring from sports after these games which will run from August 29 to September 9.
Other members of the delegation include: Lewis Garaba Chef de Mission, Dr Dvairo, Fatima Gula from the Sunday Mail, Amon Cuthbert Nyaundi (coach), Mr Bulagango, Obedia Moyo from Sports and recreation Commission.
The Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee (ZNPC) was formed on August 7 2010.
"We hope to work together with Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) who have the knowledge and know how on the Olympics said Garaba who is also secretary General of (ZNPC)
Part of the Zimbabwean delegation at the luncheon
Also present were HE Ambassador Gabriel Machinga and Mrs Machinga, Deputy Ambassador Cecil Chinenere, other Diplomats of The Zimbabwe Embassy in London, members of the Zimbabwe Embassy Diaspora Olympic Support Network (ZDOSN).
Team Zimbabwe paralympic members, Members of (ZDOSN)
Chef de mission of the Paralympics delegation Lewis Garaba urged support for the athletes who were unable to attend the event.
Part of the delegation at the luncheon
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Executive Karikoga Kaseke in a speech read on his behalf by Felicia Munjaidi, Tourism officer based at Zimbabwe House welcomed the delegation and congratulated the athletes on being chosen to represent Zimbabwe.
“The nation has bestowed their confidence on you and will rally behind you as you will be competing to re position the Zimbabwe flag” he said.
Kaseke urged the delegation to represent Zimbabwe at the London Paralympic games as Ambassadors and take the opportunity to present and market destination Zimbabwe to various participants during the games.
“Let the uniqueness and beauty of Zimbabwe be manifested. I am convinced you will leave strides and memories that will last for a life time if only we carry the heart of our nation – the will to transform perceptions towards our country, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is indeed a world of wonders filled with hospitable people, pristine wildlife, nature, rich history and heritage, the majestic Victoria falls, Great Zimbabwe and the mightyZambezi" he added.
Kaseke ended his speech by wishing the team a memorable experience during the 2012 London Paralympics.
Felicia Munjaidi and other members present
Zimbabwean Ambassador Machinga encouraged men and women of courage, vision and commitment to continue supporting Zimbabwe. He also encouraged (ZNPC) to continue working with (ZOC) as they stand to benefit from a partnership.
"To all those who have travelled from Harare, being at Zimbabwe House here in London means you are on Zimbabwean soil so feel at home" he told the visitors.
He went on to praise the (ZDOSN) for the work they are doing in supporting Zimbabwean sports.
Meanwhile the (ZDOSN) will be hosting an event to raise funds for the paralympics team at an event to be held at the zimbabwean Embassy on August 7.The event will commence at 7pm and lots of entertainment, raffles, food and drinks are lined up to grace the event.
Knox Chitiyo Chairman of (ZDOSN) says the event is meant to welcome the athletes who need support all the way.
"The athletes are very keen and fingers crosssed we may be winning some medals. I am inviting Zimbabweans and friends of Zimbabweans to come to the event, meet the athletes before they return to Harare. Please can we rally together again and show support for the Paralympians" he added.
Zimbabwean medical Doctor Dzvairo based in Bulawayo travelled with the team and was responsible for his own fares.
"I have travelled to support the team and this should boost the teams moral as they know they have their own Dr should things go wrong. This will motivate the athletes to perform to the best of their ability" he told Zimdiaspora.