By Staff Reporter
SPORTS and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry Friday visited Mutare to introduce her Heroes Foundation project where she emphasised the importance of swimming as a life-saving skill that must be taken up by every child.
Coventry, a swimming sensation and country’s most successful athlete in the Olympics, launched the project in Harare June last year with emphasis on safety during swimming.
Speaking during her maiden Mutare visit as cabinet minister, Coventry said swimming was unique in that it was both a sport and a skill to save lives.
“Swimming is a life-saving skill because not all sporting activities are life-saving,” she said.
“Through the Heroes Foundation, we will be able to teach the children not only to swim but to save other people`s lives and their own lives,” she said.
Coventry said she christened her project Heroes Foundation as many children easily identified with heroes.
“As adults, we may understand what a role model is but kids may fail to. We want to try and create a strong community from that initiative,” she said.
“The name will drive them to have a desire to become heroes and through the Heroes Foundation, children would be impacted with life-saving and disciplinary skills.
“The reason it’s called Heroes is because someone can be a hero to somebody else, but maybe for children they might not understand what a role model is but can understand what a hero is.”
The Olympic gold medallist said the foundation was aimed at educating children on discipline, self-respect, being a good teammate and being a good person to competitors.
“The Heroes Foundation teaches children to be non-discriminatory and emphasised on the equality of all the people regardless their differences, hence respect is one of our core values, excellence, friendship and opportunity because secondly, after safety we will be able to identify raw talent we can harness…”
She added, “Sport defines and has no limit; it doesn’t matter what gender, race, or background where you come from, it breaks all barriers and we want to achieve all these things through sport.
“We have chosen to start this programme here with swimming and in other locations in Harare we have basketball, soccer, rugby and we have already identified some incredible kids that have long careers in sports ahead of them.”
The event, held at the council owned Mutare Main Bath swimming pool, was attended by various schools in Mutare.