THE Sports Commission have cleared the air over the controversy triggered by UFC welterweight fighter, Themba Gorimbo, over his claims he was allegedly barred from wearing the country’s colours in his recent fight in Las Vegas.
He claimed Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry, allegedly rejected his bid to wear the country’s colours.
However, the SRC have said no such request was made to the Minister.
Gorimbo, said the SRC, was also not registered with the country’s Mixed Martial Arts.
The association had the authority to facilitate the process on his behalf.
“The Sports and Recreation Commission takes note of the recent post by Themba Gorimbo…who alleged that the ‘Zimbabwe Sports’ Minister refused to allow him to wear the Zimbabwean national colours for a match held on Saturday, 20 May, 2023.
“A Mrs Covers forwarded a texted request from Themba, where he requested to wear national colours via Whatsapp on 17 May, 2023, to an employee of the Sports Ministry.
“She availed Themba’s contact details as follows: +263 78 001 7697 and [email protected]
“Efforts by the SRC to contact Mr. Gorimbo were not successful as the mobile phone number provided was not reachable, and the email address not functional.”
The statement added:
“Mrs Covers was nonetheless advised to officially communicate this request to the SRC in order to activate the required processes.
“The approval to wear national colours requires an athlete or a national sporting association to undergo an assessment based on a national colours policy framework with specific protocols and procedures.
“There are no exceptions.
“SRC has established that Mr Gorimbo is not registered with the Zimbabwe Mixed Martial Arts Association.
“This association could have facilitated the process on his behalf had he been so registered with it.”
SRC also insisted that they will try to engage Magorimbo camp for the avoidance of a similar setback.
“The SRC will continue to try and contact him and his management in order to ensure that no similar misunderstanding occurs in future.
“We strive to ensure equal opportunities for all regarding sport and recreation matters.
“In doing so, the SRC is guided by the SRC Act as supported by policies in executing its mandate.
“All athletes and registered national sporting associations are encouraged to follow these as they conduct their various sporting activities.
“Whilst the comments of Mr Gorimbo are regrettable they should not detract from his considerable achievement.
“The SRC takes this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Gorimbo on his win and wish him all the best in his sporting endeavours.”