NATIONAL Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president Tendai Tagara is hopeful that the Chamber of Mines Championships which were the backbone of athletics in the country back in the day can be revived.
Back then the Chamber of Mines was a premier athletics event which saw the best of athletes in the country participating at the games.
The athletes fought for titles as individuals and for their mines with bonuses back at work the incentive.
There were incentives like promotion at work.
Prizes like blankets were also a big motivation and celebration parties back at their respective mines, the highlight of the season.
It was often the last competition on the domestic scene before the All-Africa Games, Olympics or Commonwealth hence attracted a lot of attention.
After the Chamber of Mines Championships one would enjoy an exalted status in the village.
Tagara says they have been motivated by mines getting involved in sport and they believe it is possible to have the games revived.
“The fact that we have mines supporting football, gives us hope they can also assist us in the athletics field. Ngezi Platinum, Vumbachikwe, Mimosa, Makomo, Hwange, Unki Mines are among some of the mines that have continued to show interest in athletics. Once we manage to have the event back, our athletics will certainly go to a high level. We have not given up on having the games back because we understand the importance of having this event. Stars were born during those games and we want to have that back,” said Tagara.
Tagara is in Bulawayo where they are hosting a number of coaching courses at White City Stadium.
“As an association we are happy we have managed to host three very important courses, we had Level One, Level Two and micro-cycle which is the highest level of training on how coaches should come up with programmes. We are more than happy at equipping our coaches who are responsible for giving us the next best athletes,” said Tagara.
He also gave his take on the country’s hopes ahead the World Championships later in the month.
“We are hoping to perfom well at the World Championships. Our athletes are in good shape and we look forward to the games,” said Tagara.
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 the 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 at 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.