Zimbabwe will have just four representatives at the 2015 World Athletics Championships which start next week in Beijing, China, after qualification for the event closed on Monday.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The August 22–30 Championships will see marathon runners Cuthbert Nyasango, Gilbert Mutandiro, Cephas Pasipamire and Tatenda Tsumba representing the country.
Hopes that sprinters Francis Zimwara and Rodwell Ndlovu as well as long-distance runner George Majaji would qualify ended after they failed to make the grade in various races in Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia before deadline day.
Sharon Tavengwa, who has just shaken off a knee injury, will also be not available in Beijing.
Others that were expected to qualify include Gabriel Mvumvure and Ngoni Makusha who, however, could not compete in qualifying events due to injuries.
The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) has been pushing for more representation at the World Championships to prepare a larger number of athletes for next month’s African Games.
The association also intended to expose more athletes to chances of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games.
“We were targeting to have a big number representation at the Championships, but our athletes failed to qualify,” said Naaz director of coaching, talent identification and development Phakamile Lisimati.
“We always want to have at least 10 athletes in major events, but we will not dwell too much on it now. We sent a number of them to qualifying races, but they failed to make the grade. As for Zimwara and Ndlovu, we really tried to push them but we are not blaming them for failing.’
Zimbabwe had just two athletes at the last edition of the Championships in Moscow, Russia, where Mvumvure’s campaign ended in the 100m semi-finals while Pasipamire finished outside the top 10 in the marathon.