BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE’S rugby sevens team technical department has created a special training programme and workout schedules for players to follow from their bases in preparation the Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers following the suspension of football activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cheetahs, as the national rugby sevens team is affectionately known, are scheduled to participate in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage — the final qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games — to be held in Monaco from June 19-20.
After missing out on automatic qualification during the continental qualifier last year, the Zimbabwe Cheetahs will battle it out for the remaining ticket against Brazil, Chile, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Samoa, Tonga and Uganda.
However, Zimbabwe is yet to start preparing for the important qualifier as local rugby has been on ice since March due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions with players scattered in different parts of the country and around the world.
Although Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) has been making efforts to ensure the safe return of the sport, the Cheetahs coaching department headed by Daniel Hondo has come up with ways to keep players active at their various stations.
In a statement, ZRU revealed that Hondo and his assistant Graham Kaulback have drawn up a specialised strength and conditioning programme for the players to ensure they maintain their fitness ahead of resumption of training.
“The Cheetahs technical team has stepped up its preparations with assistant coach Graham Kaulback saying they have distributed strength and conditioning programmes with individualised home-based skills training programmes.”
Meanwhile, the Cheetahs technical team received a donation of 15 rugby balls from Living Ball, a Christian organisation.
The Living Ball ministry was established by former professional rugby player Manie du Toit in an effort to spread the gospel using sport balls.
Head coach Hondo and assistant Kaulback received the balls on behalf of the Cheetahs.
“The coaches have distributed the balls to some of the Zimbabwe rugby development players based in Harare. Plans are underway that when the travel restrictions imposed by the government lockdown are lifted, the coaches will reach out to the other players based in other towns and cities to ensure they get equipment to use during their training,” ZRU said in a statement.
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