Zimbabwe: Naaz Stay Positive With World Champs in Sight – AllAfrica – Top Africa News

Zimbabwe: Naaz Stay Positive With World Champs in Sight  AllAfrica – Top Africa News

THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe are staying positive ahead of upcoming events as their athletes pursue qualification to the 2023 World Athletics Championships to be staged in Budapest, Hungary.

The global meet is due to take place from August 19 to August 27.

So far only marathon runner, Isaac Mpofu, has qualified for the championships.

NAAZ president, Tendayi Tagara, said their immediate assignment towards qualification is the World Cross Country Championships on February 18 in Bathurst, Australia.

They are going to field Olivia Chitate and Blessing Waison in the women’s and men’s events respectively. The two were the winners for the National Cross Country Championships held in Bindura more than a week ago. For distance runners, in particular, the 5 000m and 10 000m runners, they have a chance of qualifying in eligible road races this time around.

The qualifying time for the 10 000m is 27:10.00 for men and 30:40.00 for women.

Tagara said they are targeting the top 10 to automatically qualify for the world meet.

“We are looking at the times and we were talking to the athletes, we wanted them to run 29 minutes at the national cross-country championships but that did not happen. However, we are sending the two (Chitate and Waison) and our target is to be in the top 10.

“The moment they are in the top 10 they automatically qualify for the World Championships. So our focus is top 10 and they automatically qualify to the World Championships 10 000m event,” said Tagara.

Other athletes chasing the qualifying mark in the 10 000m event are Moses Tarakinyu, Tendai Zimuto, Elijah Mabhunu and Wellington Varevi.

For marathon runners, the national association is looking at sending a number of athletes to South Africa for the Durban International Marathon on March 12.

Some of the athletes targeted for marathon include Fortunate Chidzivo, Tatenda Hove, South Africa-based Rutendo Nyahora and Ngonidzashe Ncube.

“We are sending marathon runners to the Durban International Marathon. We competed at the race last year in May but they have moved it to March this year. It’s the fastest marathon in Africa at the present moment.

“So we are encouraging our athletes to go and run in the Durban International Marathon if they want to qualify for the World Championships. It’s the fastest in Africa and closer to home, so we can send as many athletes as we can.

“Then there are athletes like Ngonidzashe Ncube and Rutendo Nyahora, they have their own races they are going to compete in. Nyahora is going for the Vienna City Marathon. She has previously qualified at this race. So that’s another opportunity to qualify,” Tagara said. For track and field events, NAAZ are pinning their hopes on the likes of sprinters Tinotenda Matiyenga and Ngoni Makusha, as well as triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya and high jumper Kudakwashe Chadenga.

“For the track events we are still comfortable. The Africa circuit is just starting, so we still have time.

“We have hope on the likes of Matiyenga, Mapaya and Chadenga, he has been doing well. Ngoni Makusha was in Botswana recently. So we will start looking for times around March,” said Tagara. Head of the national event coaches team for middle and long-distance runners, Benson Chauke, said plans are in motion for distance runners to regroup for a training camp soon.

“There is a training camp planned to try and get people to qualify for the World Championships before we start the second training camp, specifically for those that would have qualified for the World Championships,” said Chauke.

The training camp is scheduled for Harare.

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