Athletes who competed in the inaugural Sunshine City Marathon which was hosted in the capital in July are paying a heavy “prize” for competing in the event, after it emerged Xhib-it Events Management Company — organisers of the event — are yet to give athletes their prize money.
The highly-publicised event attracted foreign athletes from Kenya, Namibia and South Africa with the East Africans making their presence felt by dominating the men’s event.
The marathon was endorsed by the International Association of Athletics Federations and had a total prize money of $70 000.
The winners in both the men and women’s categories, were expected to walk away with $10 000 each with the first runner-up pocketing
$4 000 while the second runner-up was expected to get $2 000.
But almost five months down the line, top long-distance runner Tabitha Tsatsa, winner of the women’s race and other athletes, are still waiting for the promised sum.
A disappointed Tsatsa, who has been enquiring about her prize money since July without any success, told NewsDay Sport she would not give up until she gets what duly belongs to her.
“It’s now over four months after I competed in the Sunshine City Marathon, but I’m yet to receive the prize money.
“I have been asking Rebecca Gambiza, one of the organisers of the event, about when they plan to give me my prize money, but she comes up with different excuses. Now she just hangs up her phone,” said Tsatsa, who claimed she spent Tuesday night at the Xhib-it Events Company’s offices in Eastlea.
Gambiza, chief co-ordinator and executive director of Xhib-it Events Company, was not available for comment as she was not reachable on her mobile phone.
“It’s so frustrating for us as athletes if something like this happens because that is our source of livelihood,” said Tsatsa, who also claimed Kenyan athletes who dominated the men’s race had also not been paid.
“The Kenyan athletes have also not been paid. Every time we meet they are always asking me if we have been paid and I have text messages to prove that,” said Tsatsa.
National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president Joseph Mungwari confirmed most of the athletes were yet to receive their prize money.
“It’s true that some athletes haven’t been paid and I have received complaints from them.
“I can confirm we have lodged a complaint with the organisers. They have said they are facing some challenges, but we remain hopeful they will honour their obligation,” said Mungwari.