GOVERNMENT has been forced to postpone the National Youth and Paralympic Games indefinitely due to the typhoid outbreak in the hosting Midlands province, with the disease so far claiming the lives of five people in Gweru.
BY HENRY MHARA
At least 10 000 participants and officials were expected to converge in Gweru for the three-week long games, which were set to kick-off on Wednesday.
All the provinces were already in camp ahead of the start of the games, but the Sports and Recreation Commission announced in a statement yesterday that the games will not take place as scheduled.
“Further to our communication regarding the Zimbabwe National Youth and Paralympic Games, kindly take note that the Ministry of Health and Child Care will on Monday release the test results on typhoid. In this regard, and without doubt the games’ programme has been affected. Therefore a technical meeting with key stakeholders will be held on Wednesday to determine the new dates. By way of this communication, we are confirming that the games will be held in Gweru but we are awaiting the results and determination on the new dates for the games,” read the statement by the SRC.
While the SRC is still waiting on the test results to confirm the cancellation of the games, it appears the Ministry of Health and Child Care has already recommended to the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Recreation, to postpone the games.
Health and Child Care permanent secretary, Gerald Gwinji, said the waterborne disease was yet to be contained.
“The letter serves to inform your office that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has realised that the City of Gweru has experienced a diarrhoea disease outbreak since the week beginning 2nd of July to date. At the moment, the outbreak is not yet under control as cases are on the rise. On that note, the ministry suggests two options regarding the proposed youth games to be conducted in Gweru City.
“The first option is to suspend the Youth Games until the city is declared free from the disease outbreak and the second option is to change the province the youth are going to converge for the games. The decision is made in order to reduce the risk of exposure to the officials and sports teams and avoid spreading the outbreak to other areas.”
The National Youth Games help in the selection of athletes to participate in international competitions, in particular the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games and Paralympics Games.