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Two qualify for Olympics

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Long-distance runners Gilbert Mutandiro and Wirimayi Zhuwawo became the latest local athletes to qualify for the London Olympic Games, to take the number Zimbabwe athletes who have so far qualified, to seven.
The London Olympic Games will run from July 27 to August 12.

Juwawo and Mutandiro join five other athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics.

They are United States-based track and field star Ngonidzashe Makusha (long jump), swimming icon Kirsty Coventry, another long-distance runner Cuthbert Nyasango, and rowers Micheen Thornycroft and Jamie Fraser Mckenzie.

Mutandiro (36), who runs for Mr Price Athletics Club, booked a place at the global showpiece after finishing in fourth position at the Cape Town Marathon last November.

The Cape Town Marathon was recently confirmed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an official qualifying race for the London Olympics in 2012 and Mutandiro’s time of 2h:17min,17secs is in the B standard category (2h:18min), for qualification for the London Olympic Games.

The A standard qualifying time for the men’s marathon event — 2h:15min — was matched by Kenyan Amos Maiyo in the same race who finished the race in a time of 2h:14min 55secs.

According to the national athletics coach Tendai Tagara, Zhuwawo also booked a place at the London Olympic Games after also posting a B standard qualifying time at the Yangzhou Jianzhen in China last year.

Tagara told NewsDay Sport that should another runner post a better time, then one athlete would have to be dropped as the IOC allows a maximum of three athletes in each event.

“At the moment we have three athletes who have posted qualifying times, which is good for local athletics. However, we have to ensure we are represented by our best athletes and the door is still open for other athletes to run better times. Should another runner post a better time then they will replace one athlete with the slowest time, as we are only allowed to field a maximum of three athletes,” said Tagara.

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