Gold medals are made from hard work, sweat and tears noted one philosopher.
On Thursday it seemed time stood still for a moment when Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Harries Madze Bulunga announced lucrative cash incentives for the country’s African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games medalists.
This was during the official welcoming ceremony of Team Eswatini who competed in the games in December. They were hosted by Lesotho.
After congratulating the athletes for a job well done. the minister then announced that each of the four gold medalists would receive E8000. Silver and bronze medalists were awarded with E5000 and E3000 respectively.
We say these are just rewards. Fully deserved by our excelling athletes, who broke the medal record haul since these games began way back in 2004. Mozambique will always be remembered for beiing the first county to host the games.
We are grateful for the incentives that will go a long way towards encouraging our athletes to do even better in the future. There is no doubt that the athletes parents and guardians will also be motivated to continue supporting the athletes.
The fact that these athletes have been recognised and rewarded by the government is a clear indicator of how much their efforts are valued. It is also an open invitation to the corporate world to join the wagon.
In his own words, the minister noted that these were not payments but rather a token of appreciation from the government to the athletes.
Bulunga reassured that the government was still committed to supporting local sports and said that she will strive to create a conducive environment for the athletes to flourish in their respective fields.
He said that it was encouraging to note that five of the 12 medalists won their medals across three categories, which is something that underlined our growth as a country in making sports accessible to women to fully unleash their potential through their talents.
We want to thank the parents as well for their role in the development of these up and coming stars. Without their commitment, these athletes would not have done the country proud.It was a sight to behold seeing them pose for pictures with their children the country’s newest heroes and heroines alongside the minister during the function.
Obviously, with the minister delivering the key note address, the top brass in the country sports were also in attendance. These included the PS in the ministry, Prince Mlayeto, US, Naniki Mnisi, Director of Sports, Sihlongonyane, Eswatini Sports and Recreation Council (ESRC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Darius Dlomo team managers and other officials including the media, which was highly commended by the minister for doing a stellar job in promoting sports in the country.
Gold medalists are Kimberly Dlamini, Hlelo Vilakati, Sihlelwe Matsebula and Phiwayinkhosi Dlamini. Note that these are all taekwondo artists.
Silver medalists are pugilist, Bafo Dladla and lady boxer, Veliswa Magaya.
Gcinumuzi Nxumalo, Bakhona Sikhondze, Lihle Ginindza, Luzuko Shongwe, Mfundo Nkambule and Nelsiwe Simelane,who are all athletes, are bronze medalists.
They have written their names in the country’s history pages. Their names will never be forgotten.
With the next games scheduled for Blantyre, Malawi, later on in the year, the aim is of course to double the medal tally. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels,no. This should mark the beginning of great things to come. It means more work for our national sports associations. They have already done well but we know that they can do even better. Indeed, without their hard work, we would not be here.