MATABELELAND South Province will host the Cross-Country Championships at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda on January 26.
Phakamile Lisimati chairman of the Matabeleland South Athletics Board yesterday told NewsDay Sport that they had started preparing for the province’s first competition of the year.
“We are having the cross-country championships at Pelandaba Stadium on January 26. We were supposed to have the track and field events on the following day, but we have moved them to February 9 because most athletes have just started practising.
“The cross-country competition is going to feature athletes from all the clubs and schools because it is an open tournament. Clubs like LM Academy, How Mine, Stenbocks, Plumtree Athletics and clubs from around the country are welcome to participate,” he said.
The competition will start from the Under-16s to senior level. Junior and senior girls will battle it out in the 4km race, while the juniors boys will also take part in the 4km race with the senior boys expected to feature in the 8km and 12km races.
“We are expecting an improvement from last year’s competitions. Our athletes performed well in last year’s competitions and this saw most of them going for regional competitions like Cossasa in Namibia. We are expecting the number of athletes being selected this year to increase,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lisimati said the board would hold elections for the province in Gwanda this Saturday.
Lisimati is eyeing another term in office.
“I am seeking re-election because I am happy with what we have achieved since I took over. Athletics in the province had taken a nose-dive, but we have seen the mushrooming of athletics clubs since we came on board. When we came into office we had three clubs, but now we have eight.”
“We have also seen the rise of athletes like Dumisani Bhebhe, Thandiwe Nyathi and Nkosiyazi Sibanda. We feel we have achieved something despite the challenges we faced,” he said.