THE African Union Sports Council Under-20 Youth games came to an end yesterday with South Africa dominating in athletics, while Zimbabwe came close with some encouraging performances.
South Africa, who topped the medals table, collected 17 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze, while the local team amassed 13 gold, 21 silver and 17 bronze.
In third place was Mozambique who won seven gold, two silver and five bronze, while Namibia had six gold, five silver and four bronze.
Botswana had four gold, eight silver and five bronze completing the top five teams.
Zimbabwe dominated mostly in the long distances after winning gold medals in the 800m, 1 500m, 5 000m and 3 00m steeple chase in both the men and the women.
However, one of the biggest disappointments in the competition for Zimbabwe was having young sprinter Yvonne Vanhuvaone made to run in the unfamiliar 400m hurdles, a competition in which she emerged fourth.
Vanhuvaone is a specialist in the 100m, 200m and 400m events, but the coaches surpringly chose not to include her in those events.
She did well for the team, helping them to a 4x100m silver medal and 4X400m bronze medal by running the third leg in both events where she would recover from either fourth or fifth positions.
Anna Bungu of Zimbabwe beat strong contingents in the 3 000m steeple chase women when she finished in a time of 11 minutes 07,41 seconds with teammate Convenience Chamboko coming second in 11 minutes 12,71 seconds and South Africa coming third in 12 minutes 27,69 seconds.
In the 800m T12, Lucky Chitimbe of Zimbabwe won gold in two minutes 10,16 seconds with Namibians Abraham Nilifanghiwfav in two minutes 13,86 seconds and Kaurumbuwa Sutu Katiji in two minutes 15,18 seconds.
In the men’s triple jump, Zimbabwe’s Brian Mada 15,65m leap earned him gold with South African team mates Teboho Molibeli 15,15m and Duwayne Boer 15,08m coming second and third respectively.
Thandeka Malinga of Zimbabwe settled for silver in the women’s high jump with a 1,62m leap with South African Martize Higgins 1,64m getting her gold and Nienka du Toit 1,50m bronze.
Swimming was one of Zimbabwe’s biggest disappointments after the team failed to get gold although they managed to get six silver and six bronze.
James Lawson, Chad Idensohn Andresious Cyprianos, Peter Wetzlar won Zimbabwe’s last silver medal in the 4X50m freestyle relay at the Bulawayo Pool on Saturday evening.
South Africa, who are believed not to have their brought their best athletes in this disciple, were still good enough to amass 24 gold, 12 silver and six bronze, while Namibia winning only one gold medal in the women’s 200m backstroke on Saturday.