THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe have set their own qualifying standards for the African Senior Championships scheduled for June.
This is meant to try and push local athletes to run good times in chase of Olympic Games qualification.
NAAZ want more of their athletes to make the cut for the Olympics from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
The athletics mother body felt the set standards for the continental meet from June 24 to 28 in Algeria were not that competitive and will not aid their cause, which is qualifying for the Games in Tokyo.
NAAZ president, Tendai Tagara, said their main target is qualification for the Olympic Games.
“The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe have set national standards against continental ones for those hoping to qualify for Africa Senior Championships in Algeria in June.
“This is aimed at sending athletes who reach the semi-finals or finals. This is now a global norm, so that we push athletes to produce results which we can celebrate rather than celebrating mediocrity.
“The continental board puts weak standards in order to bring as many athletes as possible. We are measuring with focus for the Olympics,” said Tagara.
He said the national standards will ensure they send the right athletes for the championships in Algeria, who are seeking qualification, instead of sending athletes for the sake of numbers.
“It’s no use to send an athlete running 10.4s in 100m when we want to use the event as a qualifying for Olympics that is demanding 10.05s.
“We want to send athletes who mean business when they are on the track. The standards are good and easily obtainable.’’
The qualifying period runs until May 29.
The national association has come up with some initiatives to try and help athletes seeking qualification for the Olympics.
They include a month-long camp for six athletes in South Africa from early last December to January this year.
They have also indicated they were looking at assisting long distance-runners with their travel expenses when they go outside the country try and qualify for the Games.
Some of the long-distance athletes they are pinning their hopes on are Rutendo Nyahora, Munyaradzi Jari, Isaac Mpofu and Ngonidzashe Ncube, who were all at the World Championships in Qatar last year.