THE Bulawayo Athletics Board (BAB) has announced 21 athletes who will represent the province in the national cross-country finals in Harare on February 9.
Upon confirming the team, BAB secretary-general Dailes Bingadadi clarified that the athletes were selected according to their best times in the two provincial cross-country selections held at Nketa Drive Park and Luveve High School on January 19 and 26 respectively. Athletes have since been grouped into four categories and these are junior women 6km, junior men 8km, senior women 8km and the senior men 12km race.
“We compiled our team guided by the times of athletes in our selection events. In every category we have six athletes serve for the senior women where we have only three. All in all we have 21 athletes so far,” Bingadadi said.
ZRP Fair Bridge (ZRP FB) athletics club’s Isaac Mpofu who leads other five clubmates in the senior men category is also expected to carry the whole team as he goes to the finals oozing with confidence after coming first in last year’s edition in Kwekwe.
He qualified with the best time of 39mins 16,42secs, beating club mates Ngonidzashe Ncube (39mins 16,74secs), Trust Chidomaya with 39mins 40,14secs, John Payarira (39mins 48,55secs, Trust Madoro whose best time is 42mins 48,50secs and Charles Chivanga who recorded 42mins 51,84secs.
In the women’s category Ruth Mandebvu of Bulawayo City Striders had the best time of 31mins 37,60secs and will lead the duo of Annie Chirisa (ZRP FB) and Nomsa Silenje an independent athlete, who have the best times of 34mins 28,10secs and 36mins 10,00secs.
Nkosilathi Bafana of Sparrows athletics club finished one of the races in 27mins 01,75secs producing the best time in the junior men’s category.
He will be joined by Ihlosi’s Blessed Ruguchu with the best time of 27mins 20,70ses and clubmates Vincent Dube and Abraham Ncube who recorded the best times of 27mins 52,10secs and 28mins 17,55secs respectively. Fedinally Sibanda of Ihlosi whose best time recorded is 28mins 49,62secs and Baberton Mhlanga of Northlea High School (30mins 16,59secs will also join.
In the junior women category Nobukhosi Dube of Sparrows and Patience Guruve with the best times of 23mins 03,00secs and 23mins 07,90secs will lead Mpopoma High School’s Cynthia Taderera and Sandra Taderera who at their best finished the 6km race in 23mins 50,40secs and 25mins 28,36secs.
Edin Ncube of Juma Phiri Academy (24mins 39,30ses) and Thandoluhle Ncube of Mbonqane whose best time recorded is 29mins 13,93secs also made it to the provincial team.