Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
THE inaugural Mashwede Road Race, set for Mashwede Village in Harare on June 19, was launched yesterday. The competition is expected to attract scores of junior male and female athletes who will compete in the 5km and 10km races. There will also be an open category for senior male and female athletes.
The Mashwede Road Race will start at Mashwede Village at 8am and finish at the same venue which is located in Budiriro.
Mashwede Holdings are the official sponsors of this road race event and have partnered with the Collen Makaza of Mr Pace Athletics Club.
Speaking at the official launch of the event in Harare yesterday, prominent Harare businessman, Alex “Dr Mash” Mashamhanda, said as Mashwede Holdings, they are pleased to have come on board to promote athletics in this country for the first time and they are hoping that, one day, Zimbabwe can be able to produce a World Champion in long-distance races.
“We are very grateful as Mashwede Holdings to sponsor the race which will have youths who are the future of the country. I am privileged to note that we are consistent in promoting sports and this is another way to promote talent.
“We have had the NASH M and H Under-17 Soccer Tournament for a good 17 years and we have The Mashwede Open Golf Tournament and we support Harare City Volleyball Club. So we will continue supporting sport.’’
In December last year, Mashwede Holdings, through its owner Mashamhanda, sponsored promising motocross rider, eight-year-old Victor Nyamupfukudza, during the country’s premier motorcycling event, the Zimbabwe Summer Series, which was held at Donnybrook Park Raceway in Harare.
Mashamhanda yesterday said they have now extended their sponsorship to athletics.
“Our aim is to have a Zimbabwean who can go all the way and challenge the Kenyans in long-distance races before we produce a World Champion and I believe it all begins with races like these. I am urging all those who are able to come to enjoy the races,” said Mashamhanda.
Tournament co-ordinator, Martha Mashamhanda, said they are looking forward to a good outing on the day as they have prepared many events for families.
‘‘We are happy to come up with this initiative and it will give athletes opportunities to exercise and maintain a healthy living.
We are going to have the 5km, 10km, couples run and baby dash competitions among several other activities.
‘‘I am glad that we are going to introduce the baby dash competition for the first time in this country and it will cater for kids aged two-years and below.
The races will be competitive as there are some monetary prizes and hampers,” said Martha Mashamhanda.
Seasoned athlete Fortunate Chidzivo believes such races are good platform to practice for her World Championship qualifiers and urged athletes to come in their numbers.
“I would like to thank Mr Pace Athletics Club and Mashwede Holdings for coming up with these races as it gives everyone an opportunity to compete. With age groups from 13years to the Open it is interesting to have the race and I hope it is here to stay as an annual event,” said Chidzivo.
Makaza of Mr Pace said they are looking forward to a successful inaugural competition which they have already began to prepare for.