Zimbabwe out to defend schools title

The Zimbabwe schools athletics team is in Botswana to defend the Confederation of Southern African Schools Sports Championship they won at home last year.

The team has been in camp in Bulawayo for close to a month and Athletics Zimbabwe second vice president Enias Nhoro says they have done everything in their means to defend their title.

Zimbabwe has sent 46 girls and 46 boys, drawn from all the schools in the country – including some who took part in last year’s competition. The competition in Gaborone is expected to last five days.

Nhoro says there is a lot at stake for the athletes as the competition is being used to select the Zimbabwe team for next month’s Africa Youth Olympics scheduled for May 20-30. There has been concern that Zimbabwe is not doing enough in terms of athletics talent identification but Nhoro says they have gone as far as the rural areas in search of the team to represent Zimbabwe.

Despite sending the larger chunk of athletes for the Olympic Games, Zimbabwean track and field athletes have nothing to show for their nine-times participation at the global sports festival. The best Zimbabwe did was Tendai Chimusasa’s seventh finish in the marathon at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

All along, it has been excuses including short training time despite the four-year gap to prepare. The next Olympic Games are in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil next year, but so far there are a few promising athletes.

However, the attitude of the local sports family is beginning to change as there is now more emphasis on grassroots development as more effort is being channelled to schools in all the sporting disciplines, particularly cricket, rugby and athletics, apart from football and netball which have always received the major thrust.

Post published in: Athletics

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