HARARE-FOR the second time in a row, Zimbabwe will miss the track events at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar from September 27 to October 6.
Zimbabwe have five athletes who qualified for the championships and four of them are going to compete in marathon while one will represent the country in triple jump.
The five athletes are long distance runners – Rutendo Nyahora, Munyaradzi Jari, Ngonidzashe Ncube and Isaac Mpofu and triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya.
Jari, Ncube and Mpofu will make up a team for the men’s marathon while Nyahora is the sole representative in the women’s section.
Although Zimbabwe have managed to be consistent with long distance runners, they still have to put in more work on the sprints with Tatenda Tsumba being the last sprinter to have qualified for the championships in 2015.
In 2017 they had five long distance runners – three men and two women – who qualified and this year long distance runners dominate the team again.
The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe had pinned their hopes on the likes of sprinters such as Ngoni Makusha and Tsumba to qualify this year.
However, the duo could not make it.
“It’s been a long season with ups and downs. I managed to run a personal best in 200m and broke the 4x100m Zimbabwean record and qualified for the African Games,” said Makusha.
“I am not happy with the performance from African Games as I was looking forward to have a podium finish there and hit a qualifying time for the World Championships.
“It was my goal for the season, so, I am disappointed but at the same time I have learnt a lot from what happened and it’s back to the drawing board.
‘‘I am going to put in some work and fix the loose ends and come back stronger next season.’’
NAAZ director for coaching, talent identification and development, Lisimati Phakamile, said they were looking at a four-year programme focusing on locally-based athletes and it will bear fruit.
“I am positive that very soon we will have them qualifying straight from home or getting to qualifying positions from their events because the time that we have put, the time that these guys have invested in training, now requires them to show progress by progressing into the finals, qualifying into the Olympics,” said Phakamile.
Minister of Sport, Kirsty Coventry is facing a tough task in revitalizing Zimbabwe sports engulfed with lack of funding and governance issues. Herald