National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) president Tendai Tagara has said they are engaging Old Mutual to bankroll track and field events to lure back athletes who appear to shun these events due to lack of incentives.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Tagara made the remarks ahead of the Old Mutual Westgate Half Marathon slated for this Sunday in Harare.
There has been an increase in marathons in the country, with sponsors stampeding to finance the long-distance races, while the short versions and field events suffer.
This, Tagara said, had made it difficult for Naaz to identify and tap talent from the grassroots that they can pick to compete in international competitions.
Against this background, Tagara has opened negotiations with Old Mutual, one of the major sponsors of athletics in the country, to also help in funding the track and field events.
“They are doing well in sponsoring marathon races, but we have realised there is a gap as most athletes are now focusing on marathon races because there is more sponsorship,” he said.
“We are engaging them so that they can also help out on that aspect.”
Besides the Westgate Half Marathon, Old Mutual also sponsors the Dangamvura 10km Fun Race, the Nkulumane Fun Run and the Vumba 21km Marathon, which is famous for the gruelling mountainous terrain.
Old Mutual general manager for property Gilbert Gumpo said the races were part of the company’s nationwide physical wellness drive.