[By Bright Tembo]
ZAMBIA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Asahi City, Chiba, Japan under the Host City Initiative for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The MoU grants the Zambian Olympic teams opportunity to camp and use training facilities in preparation a month ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Zambia is scheduled to participate in more than five sports disciplines during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics to be held in Japan between July 24 and August 9, 2020.
According to a statement made available by first secretary for press at the Zambian Embassy in Japan Yotamu Mugara, the MoU was signed separately in Lusaka by National Olympic Committee of Zambia president Alfred Foloko on December 4, 2019 and Asahi City Mayor, Tadanao Akechi on January 15, 2020 in Asahi City.
Zambia’s Ambassador, Ndiyoi Mutiti, who witnessed the signing ceremony in Asahi City thanked the authorities for agreeing to host the Zambian Olympic teams.
She said the gesture and facilitation of training facilities for various sport disciplines in which Zambia will compete was commendable.
Ambassador Mutiti said the Host Town Initiative, which aims at promoting human, economic and cultural exchanges would go a long way in cementing relations between Japan and Zambia, going towards and after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
“I am optimistic that through this programme, the people of Asahi City and the Zambian sports teams will seize the opportunity and promote globalism, and the economic and cultural activities for the two countries,” she said.
Ambassador Mutiti added that Zambia was looking forward to further expansion of trade and investment between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Akechi said Asahi City was ready to partner with Zambia to strengthen and promote mutual understanding through sports, education, culture, and economics before and after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games.
The mayor said his city, the fifth richest area in terms of agricultural production in Japan, is interested to cooperate with Zambia in developing the sector.
“The people of Asahi are ready to welcome and support the Zambian athletes during pre-camp training and the Olympic Games because Zambia has a remarkable historical background on Olympics, especially after hoisting the Zambian flag first at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games on October 24, 1964,” the mayor said.
Zambia shall compete in several disciplines such as judo, boxing, athletics, swimming, handball, and Zambia national women’s soccer team football qualifications for group sports.