After romping to historic victory and claiming top spot at the just-ended Zimbabwe Paralympic Games held in Chinhoyi, Midlands Province has set its sights on repeating the feat at the Youth Games slated for Gwanda in August.
Midlands hauled in 25 gold, 17 silver and 16 bronze medals to top the medals table for the first time at the Paralympics.
Team Midlands arrived in Gweru at midday on Monday to a resounding heroes’ welcome at the government complex as Midlands Governor and Resident Minister Jason Machaya, who is also team patron, took time to salute the squad.
The occasion which was filled with emotions signalled what the successful outing meant to the Midlanders who finished last year’s edition held in Mutare in fourth position after amassing 10 gold, 10 silver and 20 bronze medals.
The team’s chef de mission Reuben Mabhena said the Chinhoyi conquest was a statement of intent.
“We laid the foundation at last year’s Youth Games where we finished as runners-up. Now we have won the Paralympics and obviously we will continue building on that foundation, with our next target being the Youth Games in Gwanda this year. We drafted a plan last year where we set ourselves goals and so far, everything is going according to plan,” said Mabhena.
“I would like to thank all who were involved in our preparations for sharing the same vision with us. I have always said it that our main priority is to produce great athletes who would go on to represent the country and we will keep on striving towards that goal,” he said.
Among the medallists for Midlands was two-time World Paralympics champion Elliot Mujaji who won three gold medals in 100m, 200m as well as the 4×100-metre relay race.
All medals for the province came from athletics except for one silver medal provided by the boys’ five-a-side soccer team.
The chaotically organised games saw last year’s overall winners Masvingo settling for second spot while Matabeleland South anchored the tables chart with a paltry three medals.