Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
SEASONED long-distance runner Olivia Chitate says she is ready for the challenge at the Africa Cross-country Championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon, this weekend.
The competition is on Saturday with athletes from across the continent expected to take part.
Zimbabwe will be represented by two athletes — Chitate and Jacob Mugomeri – who will be competing in the men’s event.
The two are the national defending champions in the senior men and women sections respectively. And they will be competing in the seniors 10km event.
Chitate, who has been to the African Championships several times and to the World Championships, said she knows what to expect going into the weekend’s continental meet and will be going for a medal. “I am ready for the competition. My preparations have been going well and this time around I am going for a medal because I know what to expect.
“I have competed with some of the people who will be competing there before and I know how they run, so I won’t be intimidated by that. I am going to represent my country to my level best.
“After the national championships I have been working on the areas I felt I did not do well. I have been working on my speed, so from that preparation I feel confident.
“This is my third appearance at the African Championships, I have been to the World Championships so I am counting on my experience also,” said Chitate.
National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe director of coaching, development and talent identification Lisimati Phakamile said they are banking on the athletes’ experience having competed in international events before.
“They are ready and eager to represent the country. We are sending two athletes, both of them are ready.
“It’s time for them to perform.
“We, as the national association, feel we have done our best for them to compete in a conducive environment.
“They have been doing the road races, they have done cross-country here in Zimbabwe and South Africa. We want to believe that they are not new to this competition.