SOUTH Africa could be the latest addition to countries that will participate in the inter-provincial athletics championships which start at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) tomorrow.
SUKOLUHLE MTHETHWA /HENRY MHARA
Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho have confirmed they will be sending athletes for the competition that will end on Sunday.
Bulawayo Athletics Board chairman Manuel Mpofu yesterday said they were now expecting South Africa to take part in the competition.
“South Africa has shown interest. They have not confirmed, but they could send athletes for the competition. The coming in of these countries is very good because it means that there will be more competition. Our local athletes have a chance of competing with top athletes from these countries,” Mpofu said.
“We are expecting Botswana to arrive today (yesterday). We are expecting other countries tomorrow (today).”
The country’s 10 provinces are expected to provide juniors and seniors for the championships.
Mpofu spoke about the importance of the championships.
“We expect more athletes from every province to attend. The athletes have a chance of qualifying for the World Junior Championships to be held in America next month. This is also the chance they can use to qualify for the Africa Senior Championships that will be hosted by Morocco in August,” he said.
Mpofu also said local athletes had to use this platform to show that they can be drafted into the team that will represent the country in Region V Under-20 Youth Games in December.
With Zimbabwe having borrowed an electronic timer, this could lead to a good attendance from local athletes. Yvonne Vanhuvaone, Andile Khumalo, Patience Gurure, Isaac Mpofu and Trust Chidomaya are part of the Bulawayo provincial team that will fight for top spot in different categories.
The events lined up include 100m, 200m, 400m, 5 000m, 10 000m, relays and field events like discus and shot-put.
National junior coach Silas Muringani said the event will be used to prepare athletes for other upcoming games including the National Youth Games later this year, the 2014 African Senior Track and Field Championships in Morocco this October and the Zone 5 games to be hosted by Bulawayo in December. Already, four athletes have qualified for the prestigious event, including Enlita Ncube who impressed at the Confederation of Schools Sport Association in Southern Africa Games held in Botswana in April.
Other athletes who have booked places are Merjury Mudyirawingi, Michael Songore and Tendai Zimuto.
Muringani said they would want to send a team of at least 20 athletes to Eugene. Muringani who is also the secretary-general for the Harare Athletic board said his province would be sending a full team of 40 athletes to Bulawayo.