Allen Khumalo and Lovemore Zigara, Sports Reporters
THE National Association of Secondary School Heads (Nash) Bulawayo athletics team is due to leave the city this morning for the national finals at Lomagundi College on Thursday and Friday.
The team is made up of 140 athletes and six officials.
Speaking during a send-off ceremony at Northlea High School yesterday, acting Bulawayo provincial education director Olicah Kaira encouraged athletes to lift the Bulawayo flag high as the city’s ambassadors.
“I urge you to remember the road you have travelled up to this stage. Remember that champions do not become champions from nowhere, but they achieve that status through hard work. Success whether on the track, field of play or in the classroom requires dedication, commitment, confidence, endurance and a great deal of hard work, the attributes that are not lacking in you,” said Kaira.
“Go to the national competition in Lomagundi with that in mind and represent our province well. Behave well and focus on producing the best performances of the day. Do not give up easily. Your mission is to bring home gold medals not the other two,” she said.
Bulawayo Nash head-in-charge of athletics Peter Gambiza said he was pleased with the training camp and is confident the province will improve on their sixth place finish in 2016.
“Our camp went very well and all the athletes managed to show their best performances so we hope this year we are going to do much better than last year. This is the best that we have identified and we believe in them as the association,” said Gambiza.
The national competition will be used to select a team to represent the country at the Confederation of School Sports Associations of Southern Africa) Cossasa.
Cossasa comprises Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Angola and Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Gweru district dominated the National Association of Secondary School Heads (Nash) inter-district athletics competition held at Chaplin High School at the weekend.
The district will provide the bulk of the 69 athletes that were selected to represent the Midlands at the national finals to be held at Lomagundi College in Chinhoyi from March 30-31 March.
Gweru hauled 38 gold, 19 silver and 16 bronze medals, while second-placed Mberengwa managed 21 gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze medals.
Of the 69 athletes, Gweru’s Midlands Christian College, who had the largest contingent at the tournament, provided 14.
The Nash head-in-charge of athletics in the Midlands Solomon Matara expressed confidence that Team Midlands will do well at the national competitions.
“We have put together a strong team that we believe will do the province proud at the national finals. We have begun our preparations in earnest and are confident that this year we will acquit ourselves well at the national finals,” said Matara.
“What gives us the confidence is that some of the athletes have been at the national competitions before and it is our hope that their experience will come in handy, as some went as far as representing the country at the regional Cossasa games.”
Some of the medal hopefuls include Gasten Delight, who will take part in the 400m and Dorcas Vushe, who represented Zimbabwe in the 3 000m at the Cosassa games last year. Long and triple jumper Dorothy Kavhumbura is also another medal hopeful for the Midlands.
Midlands finished seventh out of the country’s 10 provinces in 2016, an improvement from their basement finish in 2015.