Zimbabwe does not participate in Commonwealth competitions after President Robert Mugabe in 2003 withdrew the country from the club of mainly former British colonies angry over a decision to extend suspension of Harare from the group over human rights abuses.
But athlete said they have become collateral victims of the political squabble saying they would have benefited from exposure to top competition at the Commonwealth Games that ended in Delhi, India last Friday.
Brian Dzingai – Zimbabwe’s national 200m record holder lamented the exclusion of local athletes, pointing out, for example, that he was it was the 2002 Commonwealth Games that helped propelled his career to greater heights.
From the 2002 games Dzingai went to clinch fourth place in the Bejing’s Olympics in the 200m race that was won by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.
Speaking in Harare during a short visit Dzingai last Wednesday said Zimbabwe’s non-participation in the commonwealth games was blow to the development of especially young and upcoming talent.
“The commonwealth games played a very important part in my career,” said Dzingai. “In 2002 I made the semi-finals… that was my breakthrough.”
That year Dzingai ran his best time of 20.12 seconds.
Since then he has been to the Olympics and other world meets involving the best athletes.
Dzingai now lives in Florida in the US, where he enjoys the use of top of the range training facilities.
He said Zimbabwe’s young athletes could have benefited immensely from taking part in the commonwealth games.
“It would have been good for the development of Zimbabwe’s athletes,” said Dzingai.
Other athletes who have benefited from taking part in the Commonwealth Games include Olympic medalist Kirsty Coventry, who is probably Zimbabwes most outstanding athlete.
Another Zimbabwean swimmer based in the US Nicole Horn said: “We as athletes suffer the brunt of not being a part of the Commonwealth. It is unfortunate that we can take part because we have a lot of talented athletes that would do extremely well at that level.”Post published in: Athletics