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Zim athletes struggle in Cape Town

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Zimbabwe athletes found the going tough at the second edition of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) African Cross-Country Championships in Cape Town on Sunday as Kenya continued their dominance by winning gold in most of the categories.

Sithulisiwe Zhou, who finished in 16th position in the 6km junior women race in 22,05 min, was the only local runner in the eight-member team to finish in the top 20 in all the individual races.
Pamela Katuruza finished 25th in 23,30min out of 40 competitors in the same race which was dominated by the Kenyans.

World junior champion Faith Chepngetich Kipyego led a podium sweep for Kenya in the 6km junior women race with Agnes Jebet Tirop (19,34min) second and Nancy Chepkwemoi (19,37min) in third place.

In the senior women’s 8km race, Thandiwe Nyathi came home a disappointing 27th out of 35 runners while the country’s other representative, Faithful Goremusandu, withdrew just before the race.
Kenya completed another podium clean sweep in the same race with Joyce Chepkirui, Emily Chebet and Esther Chemtai Ndiema coming first, second and third respectively.

There was no respite for local athletes in the senior men 12km race where Nkosiyazi Sibanda led the local contingent on position 29th ahead of Elmore Sibanda (31st) and George Mujaji (37th) out of 63 runners.

The only defeat for Kenya was inflicted by their East African rival Ethiopia in the junior men’s 8km race, where Muktar Edris Awel unseated the defending champion Japhet Kipyegon Korir.
Zimbabwe did not enter any athletes in the men’s 8km race.

The championships were graced by athletes from the host nation, Kenya, Eritrea, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Congo, Egypt, Uganda, Mauritius, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Sudan, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s disappointing performance mirrored their shoddy preparations for the continental meet after local athletes failed to take part in the Southern Region Cross-Country Championships held in Mauritius two weeks ago.

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