Two top athletes have pulled out of Team Zimbabwe for the All-Africa Games scheduled for Mozambique due to business and academic commitments dealing a blow to the team’s bid for medals at the game.
The All-Africa Games will run from September 3-17 in Maputo.
The latest athletes to pull out are David Martina (cycling) and Namatirai Mavugara (athletics).
The two join long-distance runner Letiwe Mharakurwa and sprint specialist Brian Dzingai who pulled out of the team due to injuries they picked up while preparing for the event.
Team Zimbabwe public relations and media officer Tirivashe Nheweyembwa told Newsday yesterday before the team left for Mozambique that the athletes have officially informed the organisers, Sports and Recreations Commission, of their withdrawal.
She said: “Brian (Dzingai) was the first to let us know that he was not able to travel because he picked up an injury while training at his US base. Then came Mharakurwa one of the female runners.
She also picked up a hamstring injury while preparing for the event, hence she could not recover in time to join others.
“In an email that she sent last Friday, she advised us that she picked up a hamstring injury while training at her base in the US,” Nheweyembwa said.
“Martina is said to be committed to some business back here at home. We were told by the Cycling Association of Zimbabwe that he was not able to travel with the rest to Mozambique, while Mavugara just started a new academic course which has made it difficult for her to travel”
Meanwhile the Mighty Warriors have also been dealt a heavy blow following the withdrawal of Pamela Khumalo from the team for the games.
Khumalo who has been an important member of the history–making Mighty Warriors has been dropped from the travelling team due school commitments.
Khumalo, a striker in the Mighty Warriors set-up, is an Upper Sixth student at Foundation College in Bulawayo and will be busy with her examination schedule over the period in which the games will be held in Mozambique.
Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza confirmed Khumalo had been dropped due to school exams, but cleared fears over her dropout.
“She has been dropped, yes. She will be having exams during the period, but this does not mean we have any problems in the camp. The girls are raring to go and ironically we will be meeting our neighbours South Africa whom we beat in the Cosafa Cup here at home,” Mugadza said.
In a positive development, tennis star Mbonisi Ndimande whose availability was hanging on the balance, is available for the event after continued meetings with his manager Chris Nhokwara.
There were fears that the tennis ace would no longer be available for the event, but Nheweyembwa confirmed that Nhokwara had given assurances Ndimande was now available.
Ndimande and Takanyi Garanganga will represent Zimbabwe in the men’s tennis category. The female team members are Pauline Chawafambira and Valeria Bhunu.