By Ellina Mhlanga
Harare-based middle and long distance runner Munyaradzi Jari says he is eager to make the cut for the 2019 IAAF World Championships when he competes in his first marathon this year in Nigeria.
Jari is set to leave for the West African country tomorrow where he will take part in the Lagos City Marathon on Saturday and he has just one goal, to run a qualifying time for the global meet to be staged in Doha, Qatar next year.
Qualification for the championships opened last month and Jari said he would want to be the first local athlete to qualify after missing the previous edition as he was beaten by Cuthbert Nyasango, United States-based Pardon Ndhlovu and Milan Matende, who had better qualifying times.
Each national association is allowed to field team of three athletes in each section – men and women.
If more than three athletes qualify they will pick the team based on their times.
“So far I think everything has gone well, there wasn’t much to work on in the last few weeks except sharpening my skills. I was working on my speed, only speed because endurance and everything else I think I am okay.
“In the last edition I ran a qualifying time but I missed out because they took athletes with better times and in Zimbabwe I think I was number four, so they took three athletes.
“And this has been a pushing factor for me to run a better time this time around. My aim is to run 2hours 15minutes. I know that if I run that time I will automatically qualify,” said Jari.
The entry standard for men is 2hours 18minutes and women its 2hours 45minutes.
Jari said the weekend’s race will determine his next events depending on how he performs.
“I think this race will determine my next competitions. If I qualify I will then know the events I will be doing,” said Jari.
Meanwhile, the National Cross Country meet will take place this weekend in Bulawayo with all provinces expected to field their teams.
The event is slated for Saturday and all provinces completed their provincial selection competitions last months in preparation of the national meet.
The competition is usually used as a platform to select a team that represents the country at the continental championships.
This year the African Cross Country championships will be staged in Algeria on March 17.