THE 2014 Coca-cola Four-Minute Mile Challenge last qualifiers are on today at Gifford High School in Bulawayo and Chipadze Secondary School in Bindura, organisers have said.
In Bulawayo the event was set for Saturday at the same venue, but was later on moved to today due to the unavailability of athletes.
Bulawayo Athletics Board (BAB) secretary-general Dailes Bingadadi yesterday told Southern Eye Sport some athletes hoping to try their luck have contacted them.
Bingadadi who is in Bindura, is expected to conduct the qualifiers at Chipadze today.
“Athletes contacted us and they are going to be given a chance to qualify for the finals set for Saturday at the ZITF,” she said.
“We are going to have qualifiers at Gifford in Bulawayo and I am also going to conduct the other one here in Bindura.
“I am yet to confirm with the athletes, but they called me and told me they were interested. We know it is now late considering that the finals are on Saturday, but we cannot deny them a chance because they requested.”
Black Rhinos Athletics Club’s Simbarashe Chikadaga was the winner of last year’s edition and will be expecting to defend his title.
He should brace for a stiff competition from perennial rivals Wirimai Zhuwawo, Blanket Mine’s Nkosiyazi Sibanda and Wellington Varevi, Elijah Mabhunu, among others. Chikadaga boasts four minutes, 10,10secs time recorded in last year’s event in which he emerged winner. So far 24 athletes have qualified for the finals.
Bingadadi said they had received the programme and also applauded Delta Beverages for continuing to sponsor the competition.
“Everything is set. We received the programme, the event is starting from 11:30am to 12pm,” she said.
“We are also hopping for improved times. The quality of athletes who have qualified so far is very good. Definitely we are going to see improved times. We would also like to thank our sponsors for keeping on supporting this competition.”
Most athletes who qualified for the Coca-cola four-minute miler challenge who took part in last week’s Pretoria Portland Cement Zimbabwe sponsored Matopos 33-Miler ultra-marathon, avoided the 53km race.