FORMER Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) chief excecutive Robert Mutsauki is set to bounce back in local athletics to spearhead a development programme being funded by Olympic Solidarity.

The aim of Olympic Solidarity is to organise assistance for all National Olympic Committees (NOCs), particularly those with the greatest need.

National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) president Tendai Tagara revealed that Mutsauki, who is a former boss of the national athletics body, would facilitate the programme, which has been dubbed the Development of National Sport Structure (DNSS).

DNSS, according to Tagara, is a grant given to promising member federations that can be strengthened or capacitated to enhance performance.

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Tagara expressed satisfaction on Mutsauki’s appointment and said this would see the rebirth of the association.

“The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe enters a new era after securing support from the Olympic Solidarity. They have hired an expert to lead the process, in the name of Robert Mutsauki. This is part of our preparation for the next Olympic cycle. The objective is to see how best we can strengthen the organisation’s capacity to achieve better results,” he

“The process will include consultation of stakeholders and our members, sponsors, athletes and athletes commission, officials, provincial executives, directors, the uniformed forces, clubs coaches, Nash (Nash National Association of Secondary Heads), Naph (Nash National Association of Primary Heads) and academies.”

Tagara added that the process had already started and will run until December and they were looking forward to start planning for the implication by January to coincide with the next Olympic cycle of 2021 to 2024.

Mutsauki, who began his career as a sprinter for the ZRP Athletics Club in 1982, was the president of the local athletics body when Zimbabwe transformed from being a minnow into one of the continental powerhouses on the athletics scene.

In 1986, the then Amateur Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (AAAZ) recommended Mutsauki to take up a 16-month sports scholarship at the University of Mainz, Germany, where he obtained an athletics coaching diploma.

Since then, Mutsauki grew in stature both as a coach and administrator, first being appointed the chief coach of the ZRP Athletics Club, before taking up the position of assistant sports director at the University of Zimbabwe.

Mutsauki was then appointed president of the then AAAZ in 1993, a position he held until 1997, before moving to the Sports and Recreation Commission, ZOC and — until 2014 — Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, where he served as technical director.

The veteran administrator has also managed the Zimbabwe Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams.

In 2016, he was named manager of the first Refugee Olympic Team at that year’s Rio Games in Brazil.