Takudzwa Chitsiga

Sports Reporter

REIGNING National Association of School Heads (NASH) chess champion, Matifadzaishe Mhungu, is racing against time to fulfil her lifetime opportunity of taking part in the Africa Youth Chess Championship (AYCC) scheduled for Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, South Africa, from June 15 to 23.

The 17-year-old Howard High School student won the ticket to represent the country when she won at the Cook More-sponsored chess championship at Chipindura, in Bindura, early last month.

“My first medal came in 2019 when I won the Under-12 categories before I won the 2022 NASH Under-15. The win in 2022 was supposed to see me travel to Namibia in 2022 but, again, because of financial challenges, I failed.

“It was last year again that I won the Under-16 category at Cheziya and I was supposed to make the trip to Cairo, Egypt, but again I could not afford it.

“This year I am supposed to be taking part in the tournament in South Africa, which has a ticket to qualify for the World Youth Championship set for Brazil later this year.

“I feel pained that my parents cannot afford to help me get a basic, such as a passport, as we come from a poor background and my talent is not getting to its full potential,” said Mhungu.

The athlete is hopeful that some companies will come on board as she is racing against time to register with the Zimbabwe Chess Federation, whose deadline for confirmation is May 5.

Mhungu’s mother, Easter, said they were not giving up hope.

“I think the dates for the deadline are a challenge. We received the letter on April 24 and the registration will only close on May 5.

“We do not have much time since she does not have a passport and the trip is self-sponsored which will be difficult for us.

“My daughter is going as an additional player and she will foot all her travel and accommodation bills.

“We hope she will one day get the opportunity to travel with the team as she likes to represent her country,” said Easter.


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