Mvumvure eyes World Relay champs

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TOP sprinter Gabriel Mvumvure has called on the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) to ensure the country’s sprint relays team enters the inaugural IAAF World Relay Championships set for the Bahamas in May.

DANIEL NHAKANISO
SPORTS REPORTER

The event slated for May 24-25 will bring together the world’s best athletes in a schedule that includes the 4×100 and 4x400m races as well as the 4×200, 4×800 and 4×1 500 relays.

The top-eight teams in the categories will automatically qualify for the IAAF World Championships to be held in Beijing, China, in 2015.

Mvumvure, who was part of the 4x100m that won a bronze medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games in Algeria, said although Zimbabwe had a lot of potential in sprint relays nothing had been done to ensure local athletes compete together in international competitions.

“In May there’s the World Relays Championships in the Bahamas and many countries will be taking part. I hope Naaz and the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee would make all contacts to make sure that we take part in a relay to get the required qualification times,” Mvumvure who recently equalled the national 60m indoor record at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland, said.

“For some reason they never give us a chance to run a relay. Seven years ago we ran a 4x100m relay at the All-Africa Games and got a bronze medal. We also broke the national record with a time of 39,16secs. The relay consisted of me, Ngoni Makusha, Brian Dzingai and Lewis Banda.”

“If we were able to get a medal when me and Ngoni were just youngsters, but had two veterans Brian Dzingai and Lewis Banda, don’t you think we can be great in relays considering that me and Ngoni are sub 10 runners now? he quipped.

Mvumvure, a former Africa junior champion has a personal best time of 9,98secs in the 100m while Ngonidzashe Makusha holds the national record with a personal best time of 9,89secs.

Rising star Tinashe Mutanga, who is on a scholarship at Oral Roberts University and Florida State University, Paul Madzivire and Michael Songore could be possible additions to the relay team.

“Twenty twelve was the only year the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee tried to help us run a relay, but we were only able to run once. We still ran 39,7secs with bad exchanges and with the work that goes in getting relay chemistry, that was a good time.

“Ever since then, we have never heard of such an arrangement. At the end of day what can we do if nobody believes in us? We have so much potential, but it goes unrecognised and it breaks my heart every time. If we had a couple of more chances I believe we could have qualified for Olympic Games in London or other international competitions such as the World Indoor Championships.”

Naaz president Tendai Tagara referred all questions to the association’s director of coaching and talent identification, Phakamile Lisimati who was not available for comment.