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National Youth Games start

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After coming third in last year’s Zimbabwe National Youth Games, Bulawayo Metropolitan Province has promised to come out on top in this year’s edition of the games which kick off in Bindura, Mashonaland Central, today.

The country’s 10 provinces will do battle in netball, handball, basketball, volleyball, football, tennis, boxing and athletics. Harare were the winners of last year’s competition.

Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) co-ordinator for Bulawayo, Sam Dzvimbu, yesterday told NewsDay Sport that the province was expecting to do much better than last year.

“There is no better position than number one, so we are aiming for gold. The whole province’s representatives and the technical teams are bubbling with confidence waiting for the start of the games. The athletes are psychologically prepared for the games,” he said.

“Bindura is too hot, but the good thing that we came here on Friday so that athletes can acclimatise. Some of the athletes have also had a feel of the games venues, so it is already an advantage because they will not get to the venues straight into competition,” Dzvimbu said from Bindura yesterday.

Bulawayo, however, does not have a tennis team this year.

“We are very disturbed that we failed to get any representatives for tennis where we usually get gold or silver. We feel let down by the tennis board. It will be the first time that we do not field tennis teams because the players opted to go to an open tournament in Harare,” he said.

The province is being represented by 187 athletes and 39 officials.

Matabeleland South SRC co-ordinator Lifa Mpofu said: “We are not taking any chances this time. We have a full field of athletes. We are happy that we have managed to get 10 boys and seven girls for boxing because last year we only had three and that was pathetic as the hosts,” he said.

“This year we have athletes from Falcon who will participate in athletics unlike last year when we had one. We are also happy with the approach and enthusiasm of the boys’ football team because they did not perform well last year. We also have a strong team in handball which boats of Nash champions in the boys and girls’ section. We hope to put up a good fight.”

Matabeleland South finished sixth in last year’s competition.

Matabeleland North came last in last year’s games but SRC co-ordinator for the province, Newman Masuku, yesterday said they were expecting to do better this time around.

“We are expecting to do well because we are fielding a strong team. It is a bomb waiting to be unshielded. We have also roped in the experience of former Hwange coach David Phiri and Lizwe Sweswe. Morale is also high in camp,” he said.

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