NAAZ seek to field bigger team NAAZ president Tendayi Tagara

Sports Reporter

WITH less than a month before the Africa Senior Championships in Douala, Cameroon, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe have appealed for financial support to enable them to field a bigger team. 

The championships will run from June 21 to 26. 

The meet is also serving as a qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games, and with the qualifying window closing on June 30, it will be their last qualifying event.

NAAZ have indicated they would want to field a bigger team to qualify a. They also want to use the competition as a preparation platform for those who have already qualified. 

NAAZ president Tendayi Tagara had earlier on said they hope to field between six and 10 runners, but has expressed their desire to increase the number to 15 if funds permit. 

“NAAZ dreams of sending a bigger team for several reasons. One, this is the final selection competition for the Olympic Games. 

“Secondly, we are chasing one of the few remaining Olympic relay slots. If we can get all the top sprinters from the US, I am confident we can top the relay’s remaining slots for 4x100m. 

“The qualifying period closes just three days after the championships, on the 30th of June, and qualifying for the World Championships is within that period. 

“It’s the biggest stage for our qualified athletes to measure themselves against Africa’s top sprinters. 

“The NAAZ is appealing for financial support from cooperates just for air tickets,” said Tagara. 

Four athletes have booked their places at the Paris 2024 Olympics Games which get underway on July 26 and run until August 11.

The quartet of Isaac Mpofu, Rutendo Nyahora, Tapiwa Makarawu, and Makanakaishe Charamba have so far qualified for the Games. 

Tagara believes there is a good chance of a few more athletes qualifying over the next month. 

NAAZ is working with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee in supporting athletes chasing qualification and those who have qualified. 

Marathon runner Mpofu is currently in camp in Harare for his preparations for Paris. He was the first Zimbabwean athlete to secure his ticket for the Paris Games having qualified in December 2022. 

Team Zimbabwe chef de mission for Paris Ringisai Mapondera, at the latest team management meeting, said they continue to support athletes towards the upcoming Olympic Games. 

“NOC financial support is continuously being given to athletes as we speak, those who are yet to qualify and those who have qualified. 

“Nyahora of athletics has also been given support as preparation for the Games. Athletes from athletics who are still pursuing qualification are being supported as well,” said Mapondera.

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