Zimbabwe’s eight-member athletics team leaves the country today for Saturday’s Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) African Cross Country Championships which will, for the second consecutive year, take place at Keurboom Park, Cape Town, South Africa.
In the senior men’s category, Zimbabwe will be banking on the experienced trio of George Majaji, Elmore Sibanda and Nkosiyazi Sibanda who will be joined by Rimuka Athletics Club’s Jacob Mugomeri.
In the women’s category, Thandiwe Nyathi, who came out tops at the national cross country championships in Redcliff, is joined by Faithful Goremusandu.
The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) also named two junior runners — Sithulisiwe Zhou and Pamela Katuruza.
NAAZ president Joseph Mungwari, who confirmed the team’s departure by road today, predicted a tough outing for local athletes.
“The team will be meeting in Gweru tomorrow (today) before departing for South Africa. We made sure that our athletes leave early so that they have enough time to recover from the gruelling road trip.
“It’s obviously going to be tough for our athletes considering that powerhouses such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Morocco will be sending their top athletes without also underrating the hosts South Africa.
“For some of the experienced runners it will be a good opportunity to prepare for the upcoming Olympic qualifying races and should they make the top 20 in their races it would be nice,” said Mungwari.
The championships will be graced by athletes from Kenya, Eritrea, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Congo, Egypt, Uganda, Mauritius, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Sudan, Namibia, Swaziland Malawi Zimbabwe and the hosts.
According to reports from South Africa, each event would be run over a 2km course that will start at Rondebosch Boys’ High School, including a loop through Keurboom Park and ends in front of the Western Province Cricket Club.
Senior men and women will compete over distances of 12km and 8km respectively, while junior men and women will run 8km and 6km respectively.
Senior Men: George Majaji, Elmore Sibanda, Nkosiyazi Sibanda, Jacob Mugomeri
Senior women: Thandiwe Nyathi, Faithfull Goremusandu
Junior Women: Sithulisiwe Zhou, Pamela Katuruza