BY GERALD MUTSVAIRO
THE Judo Association of Zimbabwe (JAZ) has selected a provisional squad from where they will pick judokas to represent the country at this year’s All-Africa Games set for Rabat, Morocco.
The games will start on August 19.
The association has selected 18 fighters from six weight divisions into camp, although their current budget only allows them to send four.
JAZ is hoping that the government and the corporate world would intervene and enable them to send the maximum possible number to the games.
“We are expecting to have a representative in each weight category that is if the government can allow us by assisting us with finances. We are expecting two women and two men if we have a limited number,” JAZ president Smart Deke said.
JAZ is hoping to compete in pre-tournaments fights to prepare for the games, where they are aiming to win some medals.
It has been long since Zimbabwe won a medal in Judo at the All-Africa Games.
“We are going to South Africa for a one week camp in early May and will go there again for the High Performance Championship at the end of June. This will be a good test for the athletes to have an opportunity to showcase their talents and experience various … techniques from grandmasters.” Deke said.
Godmother of local judo, Debi Jeans, the former JAZ president and an international referee, is the last judoka to win a medal at the All-Africa Games. She won a gold medal in the 1995 Games, which Zimbabwe hosted.
“If they can keep their current form, I am sure that the squad will bring medals home. The team is strong and I’m very confident that they will make us happy. We hope with proper preparation and financial assistance, we definitely hope to get medals. All-Africa Games are just like other tournaments, like the Africa Cup of Nations. You need good preparations in those, and it’s very much possible to win medals,” Deke said.
The judokas are conducting their training sessions at Old Tafara Community Hall in Mabvuku to prepare for the premier competition.
Senior Women 78kg: Leanne Max, Gertwin Mapfumo, Catherine Chipsava
Senior Men 66kg: Moses Mutende, Goodnews Gombarume, Michael Mariso
Men Under 78kg: Moses Mutende, Goodnews Gombarume, Wandile Moyo
Men under 91kg: Philip Jeans, Sydney Mutero, Felix Matsitsiro
Boys 14 years under 55kg: Munyaradzi Sahondo, Masimba Mapisaunga, Craig Maphosa
Girls 16 years Under 60kg: Micheal Henderson, Seabell Simbi, Rudo Goto