THE Bulawayo Athletics Board (BAB) says they are looking forward to host athletics events this year at the newly-refurbished White City Stadium with the hope of producing some of the best athletes in the country.
Athletics in the provinces was being held at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) which was the only facility that had a tartan track in Bulawayo.
White City Stadium which had a cider track was upgraded to a tartan track in time for the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games last December.
BAB secretary Dailes Bingadadi said they were eager to use the new facility for events this year.
“With the new tartan track at White City, we hope to host more events both local and national,” she said. “We also have a state-of-the-art electronic timing system which at the moment is the best in the country and we hope that would help in the development of our athletes.”
Bingadadi said the association hoped Bulawayo coaches would take advantage of the facility and produce some of the best athletes who could compete anywhere in the world.
“We want to develop more athletes not only for Bulawayo, but we hope that the southern region of the country will take advantage of the facility as well. We want more athletes for international competitions to come from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, (Matabeleland) South, the Midlands and Masvingo,” Bingadadi who is also with the Sport, Arts and Culture ministry as a sports promotions and development officer said.
“We appreciate that Nust gave us their facility to use despite the charges.
“They enabled our athletes to get a feel of the tartan track and we are grateful. We are likely not going to use Nust because we will be using White City stadium,” she added.
Bingadadi said they were overwhelmed by people’s response to the sport during the Youth Games and they would want to take it to the people.
“Most people are near the stadium and they appreciated the sport. We were overwhelmed by their response during the games. We want to take the sport back to them,” she said.
This month the athletics board will host the cross-country championships with provincial track and field events likely to be held in February.
Other events lined up this year include the ZITF Coca-Cola Four-Minute Mile, Old Mutual 10km road race sometime in May and the PPC Matopos 33-Miler ultra-marathon.
The distance converted to kilometres is 53, 1084.
Bingadadi said the sponsors of the event were in talks with organisers of South Africa’s Comrades marathon for the Matopos 33-Miler to be a qualifier for their event.
She said they were hoping that the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo half-marathon which had been scheduled for December 22 last year would be back this year.