BULAWAYO Metropolitan Province general manager Bhekuzulu Khumalo has applauded the province for winning their first-ever Zimbabwe National Youth Games title in the 2013 edition of the competition that ended in the city on Saturday.
The hosts emerged winners after scooping 16 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals making up for narrowly missing last year’s title by one gold to Harare Province.
This was a marked improvement as Bulawayo grabbed 10 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals in last year’s Youth Games in Bindura in Mashonaland Central.
Khumalo yesterday told Southern Eye Sport the reasons for their success in the just-ended competition were because of strategic planning.
“I am really happy that we have won the Youth Games title. When we came back from the Youth Games that were hosted by Gwanda in 2011, we noticed our weaknesses. We realised that we only have a few girls in boxing, so other provinces were getting free medals there.
“We also realised that not all our relay teams were solid. We also noted that most of our athletes were Under-20s.
“In our review meeting we decided that we should have the majority of our athletes from the Under-18 and 19 categories so that there could be consistency in our teams. Credit also goes to the athletes because they were prepared to fight for Bulawayo.
They were not prepared to see other athletes taking all the medals to their provinces,” he said.
Next year’s hosts Masvingo were second on the medals log table after winning 10 gold, nine silver and three bronze.
Masvingo general manager Patrick Mashapa said they were happy with the results.
“We are quite excited in that we were second overal. Our teams generally did well and we were happy with our performance. We felt that we lost quite a number of gold medals in athletics and we also did not do well in basketball.
“As next year’s hosts we are hoping to put strategies because hosting the Youth Games is not a small job. We would need all stakeholders to come in,” he said.
Harare Province surrendered the title they have won a record nine times after slipping down to position four with eight gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze medals.
Sports and Recreation Commission co-ordinator for Harare Newsten Chipoya said they lost the title due to inadequate preparations.
“We did what we could in terms of preparations, but it was not enough. We did not get adequate financial support.
“The level of competition from all the provinces has also improved. We also need to identify coaches for next year’s edition and cast our nets wider to select athletes from the seven districts.
“The scientific approach to the Youth Games is also important as science plays a crucial role in the performance of athletes — for example we need to look at issues like height when we select athletes,” he said.
Mashonaland East came third, Harare fourth, the Midlands fifth, Mashonaland Central sixth while Manicaland followed on position seven.
Matabeleland South were eighth. Mashonaland West came ninth while Matabeleland North continued with their dismal record coming out last — having also come last in the previouis two editions of the games.
Matabeleland South general manager Reuben Mabhena said they still need to do a lot of work on team sports as well as striving to get more quality players if they are to make an impression in the games.
However, there was an outcry over the officiating in boxing with Mashonaland West general manager Gabriel Mhuma crying foul.
“We are not happy with our performance in athletics because we once topped the athletics table for three consecutive years, but we have gone down.
“We are happy that we maintained our good performance in boys football though. We are not happy with the adjudication in boxing. We feel that two of our boxers were robbed even the general populace seemed to agree with us in those fights. Zimbabwe Amateur Boxing technical director Petros Masiyambumbi still has a lot of work to ensure that there is fairness,” he said.
Manicaland general manager Job Torindoh also expressed discontent in boxing officiating.
“We are happy that our developmental programme is beginning to bear fruit. Last year we were on position nine this year we came seventh.
The whole competition was generally fine but there was a problem in boxing. There was a lot of inconsistency in terms of decision making in boxing. “We need more players to be involved in Zaba. They should be on the ground and not dictate everything,” he added.