Too many years in the office for veteran athletics administrator Joseph Mungwari is surely catching up with him and his team.
On Sunday, in the Southern Region Youth Track and Field Championships, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) was found wanting in the general organisation and timing during the event.
The championships exposed the local governing body for the local athletics body’s lack of preparedness to host the event.
The track and field championships brought together young athletes from nine countries, namely hosts Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Seychelles, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia. The championships, which were supposed to start at 9am, were delayed by over two hours as neither the hosting venue, the giant National Sports Stadium nor the organisers seemed ready.
The stadium was an eye-sore with litter strewn all over the giant facility following the hosting of the Benjani Mwaruwari Testimonial the previous day-a development which must have given the country a negative image to visiting athletes.
The long and triple jump pits were only dug up in the morning of the event with the competitors already doing warm-up. The event was due to end at 3pm, but by 6pm, the organisers were only starting to tabulate the medals table.
Naaz director of coaching and talent identification, Tendai Tagara, however said the association had done its best under the circumstances.
“This was one of the first regional events we have hosted in almost eight years and I feel we did our best. It was always going to be difficult for us considering that only 24 hours before, the same venue had hosted the Benjani Mwaruwari match.
This left us with very little time to make sure that the venue would be ready on time which is why there was a delay,” said Tagara.
Mungwari was not available for comment as his mobile number was not reachable.
The organisers also failed to connect the electronic timing device which had been hired from Botswana. Had there been any record broken in the 100m, 200m and 400m they would not have been considered as the IAAF stipulates that full electronic timing must be in place to provide split-timing and final results for the records to stand.