Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO Athletics Board (Bab) starts its 2022 programme with a cross-country championship set for Mpopoma Park on Saturday.
The championship is making a return after a three-year sabbatical due to Covid-19 and will be used to select athletes to represent Bulawayo in the national cross country finals to be held on February 19.
Defending national cross-country champion Isaac Mpofu, who won the 2019 title at Morris Depot in Harare is expected to lead the ZRP Fairbridge’s team, which also has veteran long-distance female runner Olivia Chitate.
Senior men’s and women’s athletes will compete in the 10km race, with those that record the best times securing slots in the provincial team.
In the Under-20 category, girls will run 6km and boys 8km, while cadets (Under-14s) will participate in the 2,5km event.
Watson Madanyika, the Bab chairperson said: “We are excited to be having our first event of the year with the return of the Cross-Country championships we last held in 2019.
This competition will see us selecting athletes that will represent Bulawayo in the Inter-Provincial finals next month.
“We intend to take a team of six athletes each in the senior and junior categories.
This means we will have a total of 24 athletes, but that will also depend on the times they post.”
Qualifying times are 30 minutes for senior men and 35 minutes for women.
Junior athletes have to run 6km race under 20 minutes to earn a place in the team.
The junior boys’ qualifying time has been set at 25 minutes.