THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. COVENTRY): Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is indeed pleased to learn of the anxiety and apprehension that has gripped the nation over the continued sabbatical of some of the sporting disciplines as related by Hon. T. Biti. This shows that appetite and the deprivation by the Hon. Member of Parliament that underline the length and breadth of the role of sport in our life as Zimbabweans, particularly in these periods of distress, somberness, isolation sponsored by the corona virus. It is also a depiction of this House’s consciousness on the role of sport in generating national feeling as well as upscaling the happiness index amongst our own citizens. It is to that end the Ministry would like to submit its appreciation of this enquiry by the Hon. Member of Parliament.
On the resumption of activities, Madam Speaker, on 14th April, 2020 the WHO developed an interim guidance paper for sports federations, sport event organisers to consider when planning match sports and recreation gatherings in the context of COVID-19. In view of this development by WHO the Ministry and its arms, the Sport and Recreation Commission [SRC] and the Zimbabwe Boxing and Wrestling Control Board developed a schedule classifying sporting disciplines according to risks as related by WHO in the interim guideline.
The Ministry and its arms made consultations with the National Sports Association and the following categories were developed:
- Low risk sport with physical distancing is possible, for example archery, shooting and some athletics events. These will be less of a risk if physical distancing advice for athletes, coaches and spectators is followed.
- Medium risk sport which was classified as sporting disciplines where contact is possible but can be managed and distancing maintained. In such activities participants though vulnerable can devise mechanisms to abstain from contact vulnerability to risk.
- High risk sport was categorized as physical and close contact among players which could increase the transmission of COVID-19.