2020 Chivero Challenge underway

Scores of sporting and non-sporting communities on Saturday converged on the shores of Lake Chivero as the inaugural two-day 2020 Chivero Challenge got underway.

The Chivero Challenge which ends today and is open to the public is a multidisciplinary event designed to advance environmental preservation, sports recreation, tourism, health, wellness and recreation development.

Members of the public are encouraged to enter the various sport activities on offer that include marathon, horse riding, mountain biking, rowing and enduro.

The recreational extravaganza is being held on the backdrop of Zimbabwe easing Covid-19 containment measures after noting declining numbers of new infections in the country.

Sport minister Kirsty Coventry applauded the organisers of the event adding funds raised will assist with environmental management within Lake Chivero through Kuimba Shiri Bird Park and Chivero Basin Conservancy.

“Over the years, the wetland has deteriorated due to heavy pollution of raw domestic sewage, raw industrial effluent and urban wastes into the river drainage systems that eventually feed into Chivero,” Coventry said in a speech read on her behalf by a representative from the Sport and Recreation Commission.

“Poor agricultural practices have contributed to major siltation problems within the lake and not forgetting water hyacinth an invasive alien species which has invaded this water body. As a way of biodiversity restoration, wetlands protection and improving our recreational facilities in Zimbabwe, we applaud the efforts put by Kuimba Shiri, our Youth and respected Partners of using sport as awareness tool in saving Lake Chivero,” she added.

Kuimba Shiri proprietor, Gary Stafford, believes the Chivero Challenge has the potential to become Zimbabwe’s premier sporting event.

The event is expected to uplift the standards of the bird sanctuary which have taken a knock over the years due to sub-economic fee charging, pollution, a decline in recreational sport, and bureaucratic tussles.

Stafford said that the shores of Lake Chivero are designated recreational area and not a commercial fishing area as it is now.

Organisers of the event are planning for the Challenge to be held twice annually with a winter Challenge in June and a summer Challenge in October.

Lake Chivero is one of the most important ecological regions in the country because of it being one of the seven Ramsar sites in Zimbabwe, Environment Management Authority communications officer Joyce Chapangu said.

The Ramsar Convention was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. The Ramsar Convention is the multilateral agreement aimed at protecting wetlands globally.

Organisers of the event hope to use the camaraderie of the 2020 Chivero Challenge to bring together all the properties in the “Lake Chivero Basin.”In a statement, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority department encouraged the public to bring their families for a day’s treat at Kuimba Shiri.

Source : ZimMorningPost

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