Tobias Mandoreba in Hwange
THE drive to revive athletics in Hwange continues to gather momentum with more renowned former athletes getting involved in the training and development of junior runners in the coal mining town.
Efforts by members of the once mighty Hwange Athletics Club Teurai Chinguwo, Gabriel Chikomo, Themba Ncube, Tryson Shonhayi and Solani Sibanda saw the hosting of a well-attended championship triangular series at the Colliery Stadium at the weekend.
The competition involved Under-12s, Under-13s, Under-15s, Under-17s and open categories in both track and field events.
Hwange sports officer Kenneth Nyape commended the initiatives to revive athletics in the town.
“Efforts by these former greats is a step in the right direction as we all seek to revive athletics in Hwange and the province as a whole. These competitions are a starting point so that we identify youngsters that are keen on athletics,” said Nyape.
“Hwange and the (Matabeleland North) province are rich in talent and we will hold such events monthly as part of preparations for the National Youth Games we are hosting in August,” he said.
Thomas Coulter Primary School runner Craig Ndlovu won the boys’ Under-12 100m in 14.07 seconds, while Joseph Kaunda from St Ignatius Primary School won the Under-13 category in 14.09 seconds.
In the girls’ 100m Under-17 category, Hwange Secondary School’s Nelia Tshuma won the dash in 14.00 seconds. Patience Sibanda from the same school romped to victory in both the junior and open 100m, 200m and 400m races.
Presley Phiri ruled the roost in the boys’ Under-13 long jump with a 3.65m leap.
The No. 1 Village team is coached by Chinguwo, who specialised in the 800m and 1 500m races, and Themba Ncube, who featured prominently in the all-conquering Hwange relay team that had sprinting ace Gabriel Chikomo, Savieri Ngidhi and Phillip Mukomana.
Shonhayi is working with No 1 North juniors.
Chikomo, a bronze medallist in the 4x400m at the 2007 All-Africa Games held in Algeria, has been training young athletes from Thomas Coulter School since last year.
No 3 Village is under the tutelage of Solani Sibanda and David Manyumeka, son to former Hwange sports officer Abel Manyumeka.
The No 3 team received a major boost after Hwange’s mining contractor Mota Engil recently came on board to sponsor the youngsters during training.
Hwange has in previous years produced big names in athletics, who include Morven Pakarimwa, now based in South Africa, Benjamin Songoya, Ferinando Kurambisanwa and Pedzisai Pfakatya.