Rukudzo Gona, a teenager who aspires to go to university, has been selected to represent Zimbabwe as one of the Young Ambassadors for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from August 16-28 this year.
The 18-year-old will be one of the 105 young people nominated by their National Olympic Committees among them athletes, Olympians and YOG alumni, sports coaches, students and young professionals aged between 18 and 25.
The Young Ambassadors will gather in Nanjing from March 25 to 28 for a four-day seminar, when they will be fully briefed on their role, test some of the workshops and activities that will be available to the athletes during the games as well as experience Chinese culture. Gona, who completed his Advanced Level at St John’s College in Harare and has featured for the Zimbabwe Under-18 rugby team, said he felt honoured to be an ambassador for his country.
“When I got chosen I felt honoured to be representing my country. I was scared at first as there is a lot of pressure that comes with representing your country out there. Then I also thought this is my opportunity to be the voice of the athletes who are not recognised,” said Gona, who is aspiring to take up a career in sport management.
The role of the young ambassadors will be to help athletes of their national teams get the most out of their Olympic experience as well as promoting the Olympian values in their countries. The lessons learnt will equip the athletes with both sporting and life skills and also inspire young people in their communities to be active and embrace Olympic values.
The inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games were held in Singapore in 2010 with Zimbabwe being represented by Primrose Mhunduru, now with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee as development officer.
This edition’s sports programme will feature 28 disciplines, including golf and rugby sevens, which will make their debut on an Olympic programme before their inclusion in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The YOG also feature unique disciplines such as 3-on-3 basketball and 5-a-side hockey. The Sunday mail