Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE athletes interested in competing in the Zambian Track and Field Championships in their individual capacity have been granted permission by the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz).
Naaz president Tendai Tagara said his association will not be funding any athletes for the Zambia meet, adding that they had relayed communication to clubs and athletes on their position.
He said since the athletics championships across the Zambezi River are not an inter-nations competition, Naaz has no obligation to cover athletes’ expenses.
By participating in the Zambia Championships, Zimbabwean athletes can improve their Olympics qualification times and gain experience of competing in elite races.
“The Zambia race isn’t an inter-nations event. It’s just a competition the country is inviting other athletes from other federations. They sent the invitations through to other federations as a norm and we’ve informed athletes. They will be going there as individuals and in the past, we’ve seen some athletes attaining qualifying times at such events. We wish those travelling the best,” said Tagara.
Naaz has been encouraging athletes to target individual qualification by participating in recognised events closer to their bases.
Some overseas-based athletes that Naaz hopes can qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games are the United States of America (USA) based pair of Tinotenda Matiyenga and Kundai Maguranyanga, as well as Tatenda Tsumba who is based in the United Kingdom.
Should track and field athletes fail to qualify for the Olympics before the end of this month, their final chance will be in the Senior African Championships set for June 1-5 in Algeria. – @ZililoR