Tadious Manyepo in VICTORIA FALLS
THE general feeling is that boxing in this country will never be the same again.
This is a sport with huge potential in Zimbabwe given the number of pugilists who have done well before.
And at a time the Government has committed to give the game a hand, the historic World Boxing Council convention has come into the country, for the very first time, there is growing optimism gaps in this sport will be plugged.
The three-day WBC officials training and grading opened in earnest yesterday with over 100 delegates in attendance.
More were still expected late yesterday and early today with the African Boxing Union, one of the affiliate organisation of the WBC, starting their seminar just after the conclusion of the WBC event tomorrow.
A high-ranking Government official is expected to officially open the two programmes tomorrow.
And yesterday, Chief Director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Benson Dube, said the Government was committed to supporting capacity development for the perfection of sport in this country.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you to the World Boxing Council All Africa Ring Officials Training and Grading Workshop. I can say welcome to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls City, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the world.
“Allow me to start by expressing my gratitude to the ABU and WBC as well as the Government of Zimbabwe for the financial and material support towards the hosting of this particular workshop. It was not going to be possible if it were not for the concerted effort of the leadership.
“The hosting of this particular workshop here in Zimbabwe is testimony to the commitment of the Zimbabwean Government to the development of, not only the country but the entire continent, using sport as a tool. There is so much to be realised from and through sport in general and boxing in particular.
“The convergence of all-African member states here will surely promote peace, networking and sharing of ideas, knowledge and experiences amongst the people. In order for us to achieve total development, there is need to continue investing in human capacity development. This particular seminar will hopefully address the knowledge gaps which exist among our people in order for us to keep abreast with rest of the world.”
ABU president, Houcine Houchi, who is also the WBC vice-president, said the WBC and ABU are determined to better the standards of the sport across the world.
“We are happy to be here and we just wish everything will go according to plan as our wish is to improve the sport across the planet,” he said.
Houchi is presiding over both events with Kevin Noone and Daniel Van De Wiele giving the lectures.
Besides the hosts, delegates attending the workshops are from South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia, Cameron, Egypt, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, United States of America, Morocco and Ireland.
Meanwhile, local boxing guru Stalin Mau Mau, who is also part of the delegates, was honoured for his selfless service to the sport he loves so much.
He is promoting a boxing tournament that will bring the curtain down to the two events whose main fight involves WIBA lightweight intercontinental champion Monalisa Sibanda and Uganda’s Small Valente Aciro as the Zimbabwean bids to defend her title.
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