Focus turns to World Athletics Champs

Ellina Mhlanga
Senior Sports Reporter

AS the team to represent the country at the World Athletics Championships brace for the task ahead, National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe director of coaching, talent identification and development Lisimati Phakamile believes they have done most of the work for the build-up.

The World Championships are due to take place from August 19 to 27 in Budapest, Hungary.
Zimbabwe are going to field four athletes – three marathon runners – Isaac Mpofu, Ngonidzashe Ncube (men’s marathon) and Fortunate Chidzivo in the women’s category. They will be joined by United States-based sprinter Tapiwa Makarawu, who qualified for 200m.

The qualification window for events is now closed and the focus has been on ensuring the athletes are ready for the competition.

The marathon runners have been in camp in Harare under the guidance of head coach for middle and long distance Benson Chauke while Makarawu has been working from his base.

NAAZ had hoped some of their sprinters based in the United States would make the cut through the world ranking at the close of the qualification period after missing the qualifying times to add to the four but none of their hopefuls made the grade.

The pair of Chidzivo and Ncube qualified through the rankings when the qualification window for marathon closed on May 30. For track and field events it closed on July 30.

“There was a possibility of us having a number of athletes being picked up on world ranking, unfortunately Zimbabwe did not benefit this time from that ranking.

“All of our athletes did not make the required ranking numbers, so we will maintain the four.

“Now that the qualifying window has closed, it’s very fortunate that our four athletes qualified well in time for their preparations.

“The marathon runners team has been in camp since the 1st of July and they have been working tirelessly under close watch of the head coach of middle and long distance coach Benson Chauke.

“So they have been working very hard and those were the preparations that we were doing here at home,” Phakamile said.

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