Athletes find going tough at Champs Zimbabwe had two athletes at the meet where Panashe Nhenga made an early exit when he finished seventh in the 100m heats on the first day of the competition.

Grace Chingoma-Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’s journey at the on-going World Athletics Under-20 Championships ended prematurely on Wednesday evening when Denzel Simusialela finished in fifth position in the men’s 200m heats.

The championship got underway on Monday in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, and runs until tomorrow.

Zimbabwe had two athletes at the meet where Panashe Nhenga made an early exit when he finished seventh in the 100m heats on the first day of the competition.

Nhenga came seventh in 10.86 seconds. It was below his personal best of 10.57 seconds and he was overall ranked 49 out of 60 athletes that took part in the 100m event.

On Wednesday evening, Zimbabwean time, Simusiale finally participated after heavy rains delayed the events at the facility.

But the rookie, who had a slow start, fought hard to finish within the group managing to settle for fifth position in 21.21 seconds.

National youth and junior coach Briad Nhubu, who travelled with the athletes to Colombia, said Simusialela had a good outing considering that he has never competed at a higher level competition before.

“He did the best he could. Regardless of a slow start, he cruised hard to maintain a decent finish other than coming last in the race. His fighting spirit has been displayed well and his determination to run to finish has impressed me. My assessment of the slow start could have been caused by mental pressure emanating from the false start that the previous heat experienced.

“Most athletes who managed to proceed to semis have wider experience and exposure, so given that our international experience is limited, he tried his best,” said Nhubu.

The coach added that the duo has a bright future if supported.

“There are technical mistakes I noted that need to be fixed and given another chance to participate at these levels, the two will perform much better,” he said.

Nhubu says there is a need to expose athletes to scientific and high-performance training.

“Athletics will have a huge facelift from the experience these two have gained. It is really the birth of good things to follow if we ever continue to support these athletes and others at home.

“We really have very good talent that needs support, especially financially to meet their preparatory requirements. There is a need to expose these athletes to scientific systems of coaching such as giving the higher performance training with all requisite facilities that are in tandem with world-class performance,” said Nhubu.

The two athletes were included in the team that represented the country at the Africa Senior Championships in June, in Mauritius as part of their build-up to the World Under-20 Championships.

And Simusialela was part of the 4X100m relay team that won a bronze medal at the continental meet.

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