The 66th edition of the International Olympic day celebrations which were being hosted by Bulawayo at Emakhandeni Grounds yesterday were marred by poor organisation and overshadowed by an accident as a child was run over by a speeding minibus just across the venue.
The accident brought the celebration to a halt as the participants flooded the street to catch a glimpse of the injured child who was fortunate to be immediately attended to by medics that were present at the celebrations before an ambulance arrived moments later and ferried the injured child to hospital.
It took time for order to be restored at the venue as the co-ordinators struggled to bring the crowd back to the ground.
Bulawayo hosted the annual celebrations for the second year running, having hosted the event, which is traditionally held in the capital, for the first time last year.
The celebrations which coincided with the city celebrating its 120 years of existence were initially scheduled for White City Stadium which would have been the ideal venue, but were moved to Emakhandeni grounds.
The open space at Emakhandeni grounds made it impossible for the organisers to control the big crowd that had come to be part of the celebration and co-ordinating the event was a difficult task resulting in were disjointed event. However, efforts to control the crowd was fruitful with the aid of the police and order was restored in time for the prize giving ceremony and speech.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo who was the guest of honour expressed gratitude to the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) for considering Bulawayo to host the event for two successive years.
“I want to thank and at the same time challenge ZOC to continue considering Bulawayo on behalf of the southern region as the host of this prestigious event possibly for the next 20 years, as we will give ZOC our support to the success of this day as a city on behalf of all our residents, especially the sporting community who have had to endure 26 years of these celebrations being held in the northern region,” Moyo said.