In Payne over Zimbabwe athletics

05 Jun, 2020 - 00:06 0 Views
In Payne over Zimbabwe athletics Arnold Payne

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
UNITED States of America-based athletics legend Arnold Payne has expressed pain at the news that Zimbabwe no longer has a World Athletics certified track, automatically ruling out the country from hosting international races.

Zimbabwe athletes also cannot use home advantage to qualify for major international competitions, as times they record on home tracks are not recognised by World Athletics.

With most athletes in financial morass, it will be hard for them to compete outside the country in their quest achieve internationally recognised standards.

In the Southern African bloc, only South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho have athletics tracks recognised by World Athletics. Only South Africa has Class One tracks while the other three countries have Class Two certified tracks.

World Athletics senior technical manager Imre Matrahaz this week confirmed that Zimbabwe does not have any certified track.

Payne, a former national 400m national record holder, who was also part of the Zimbabwe team that participated in the 1995 World Athletics Championship, described the non-availability of certified tracks in the country as a shame, as it gives up-and-coming athletes no hope of realising their dreams.

Payne also runs the Payne Global Sports International, an organisation which provides sports performance training for professional athletes, school sports specific athletic training as well as college and professional recruiting services for athletes.

The red flag on Zimbabwe’s athletics tracks is a double blow for the sporting sector in the country as there is also no guarantee that the senior national football squad will play their home matches at home after both the National Sports Stadium in Harare and Bulawayo’s Barbourfields Stadium were condemned by Caf.

It has also emerged that the Zimbabwe Volleyball Association cannot play host to international tournaments due to lack of acceptable facilities, with only the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) courts partially meeting standards.

“This is such a shame and it will hurt our local athletes,” said Payne, whose organisation arranges scholarships for talented, but underprivileged youngsters.

Payne said it was surprising how fast the country had reached such low standards.

“It is so painful that we have come to this; how are we supposed to give our young athletes hope if they cannot run qualifying times in our own country? It’s a shame really,” Payne said.

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