THE BULAWAYO Metropolitan Provincial Sports Management Board says the city is ready to host its first-ever Olympic Day celebrations after the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee gave them the go ahead to host this year’s celebrations.
Harare has traditionally been hosts for the celebrations with Bulawayo using the opportunity as part of the build up to the hosting of the Zimbabwe National Youth Games next month.
The celebrations are set for Sunday at White City Stadium while an awareness march is set for Friday in the areas around the venue so to alert people of the big event on Sunday. Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Bhekuzulu Khumalo, told Southern Eye Sport that the celebrations will be focusing on highlighting Olympic values as well as showcasing what sports people can do.
“We are honoured as a province to be awarded the opportunity to host the celebrations. The idea behind the celebrations is to look at the Olympic values which are friendship, respect and excellence. We want to bring the young generation of aspiring Olympic athletes to rub shoulders with yesteryear Olympic icons,” Khumalo said.
A number of sports will be on offer such as football, volleyball, netball, basketball while wushu, boxing, table tennis, sitting volleyball and wheel-chair sprints will be available as demonstration sports, so that members of the public become familiar with those sporting disciplines as well. A 5km fun race is also on the cards with a 10km race set to be the major highlight of the celebrations as the race is set to attract a number of the country’s elite runners.
“The games are not about competing for prizes, but showing the members of the public how different sporting disciplines are played.
“The 10km race will be the highlight of the day, as we are expecting numbers of the country’s top runners to participate. This is set to be more of a competitive race,” Khumalo added.
He said that they were expecting a number of the city’s athletes that have competed as Olympians to grace the celebrations and take time to encourage young aspiring Olympians on sports.
Some of these icons include hockey legend Pat Mckillop, soccer players Tapiwa Mudyambanje, Bosso’s legendary goalkeeper Peter Nkomo as well as former marathon runner Mathias Kanda. Kanda and Rabson Murombe were the first black Zimbabwean athletes to represent the country in the Olympic Games in the Tokyo Olympics of 1968.