New appointments see Olympians take leading roles in Zimbabwean sport

22 | 5 | 2017

In a demonstration of the important role Olympians can play in sport administration, Zimbabwe has recently announced the appointment of three Olympians in key positions.

Triple Olympian and long-distance runner Cuthbert Nyasango has been appointed clean sport ambassador by the Africa Zone Six Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO); double Olympic gold medallist Kirsty Coventry has been elected Vice-President of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC), and Abel Chimukoko, who currently leads the country’s NOA, has been chosen as Chair of the ZOC Athletes’ Commission.

Nyasango, who competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, joins Zimbabwe women’s national rugby sevens player and referee Precious Pazani to lead an anti-doping education drive that is being funded by the UNESCO Anti-Doping Fund.

Supported by the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity and the World Anti-Doping Agency, the programme aims to educate athletes about the dangers of doping and encourage them to take responsibility for the promotion of clean sport in their own country and around the world. 

Speaking after he was named a clean sport ambassador at a ceremony in Harare, three-time Olympian Cuthbert Nyasango, said:

“It’s an honour as it shows that we have been doing the right thing, we have been following the rules, which is why we have been chosen to be clean sport ambassadors.

“Education is an important factor so we plan to go to schools and every competition to try and advocate for clean sport. As the Athletes’ Commission from the athletics side we have already been trying to educate athletes about the dangers of doping and how it affects the country.”

At the Zimbabwe National Olympic Committee General Assembly last month Kirsty Coventry and Abel Chimukoko, were elected to key positions within the organisation as Vice-President of the ZOC and Chair of the ZOC Athletes’ Commission respectively. 

Coventry, who has competed at five Olympic Games, adds to her existing leadership roles with the new appointment. She is already a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission and the WADA Foundation Board, as well as Vice-President of the International Surfing Association and will bring this valuable experience with her to the new role as she seeks to build on the themes of integrity, good governance, sustainability and team work.

Abel Chimukoko, Zimbabwe Olympians Association President and newly appointed Chair of the ZOC Athletes’ Commission, said: 

“It is our strong desire that Olympians take a leading role in the administration of sport in our country so it is great to see Olympians being appointed to key positions such as Kirsty Coventry as Zimbabwe Olympic Committee Vice-President and Cuthbert Nyasango as a UNESCO anti-doping envoy for the region. 

“Combating doping in sport remains one of the Zimbabwean Olympians Association’s top priorities and we will continue to work alongside our colleagues at the ZOC to drive forward anti-doping programmes and show our commitment to ridding sport of this unethical practice.

“Olympians remain the best ambassadors to spread the message about the harmful effects of performance enhancing drugs. One of the ZNOA's key targets is to ensure that at least 20 per cent of Zimbabwean youth receive information and education on anti-doping, so we also welcome the news of the new UNESCO sponsored programme.”