Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
LISIMATI Phakamile, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz), director of coaching, talent identification and development is confident more long distance athletes can emulate Isaac Mpofu and qualify for the 2023 World Athletics Championships.
World Athletics recently announced the qualification standards for the 2023 World Athletics Championships to take place in Budapest, Hungary, and they have significantly improved the standards in a number of events.
For the marathon, the qualifying times are 2 hours 9 minutes 40 seconds for men and 2 hours 28 minutes for women. In the last edition, the qualifying time was 2 hours 11 minutes 30 seconds for men and 2 hours 29 minutes 30 seconds for women.
So far, marathon runner Mpofu has qualified for Budapest after he finished in position 10 in the men’s marathon in 2 hours 7 minutes 56 seconds, setting a new national record in the process at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the United States in July.
Naaz has this year alone organised three long camps for marathon runners across the country in a bid to have more athletes qualifying for Budapest. The third camp which started a month ago is underway in Harare and is led by the head of the national event coaches team for middle and long-distance runners, Benson Chauke.
“Preparation for long distance runners takes a number of months. You need time to shape and groom these athletes so they can perform with the best. As an association we are giving the athletes all the support that they need.
“If you do not prepare in time you will not get the best out of the athletes. For long distance runners you have to qualify early which is why we have been having these camps for them. Their qualification closes in May.
“Mpofu’s performances were impressive and motivating. It was a good sign and an indication that more is coming from the young man. He did manage to qualify for the next World Championships in Budapest next year by running ahead of the qualifying time which should serve as motivation for the other athletes,” said Phakamile.
“We have had camps before and we will continue having camps after this one, so that we monitor the performance of the athletes and we check how they are improving or if there is no improvement up to until when we get them to the qualifying competitions and events,” he added.
Just like in 2019 and 2022, athletes will be able to qualify for the World Championships by achieving entry standard or through their placing on the world rankings. The qualifying standards continue to improve.
For instance, for the last edition, the qualifying standards for 100m men and women was 10.05 and 11.15 respectively.
For the 2023 World Championships, the time has been set at 10.00 for men and 11.08 for women.
For the 10 000m athletes will have to clock 27:10.00 for men and for women its 30:40.00 compared to 27:28.00 and 31:25.00 for the last edition.
In the 5 000m event, the qualifying time is 13:07.00 for men and 14:57.00 for women, compared to 13:13.50 and 15:10.00 in the last edition.