Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporter
FOUR athletes qualified for the semi-finals of the ZITF Coca-Cola Four-Minute Mile at the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) Track and Field Championships held at White City Stadium yesterday.
Bindura University of Science Education athlete Titus Nyathi clocked four minutes 27.32 seconds, Caliscious Moyo (4min 28.31sec) of LM Academy, Thando Maphosa (4:29:34) from Sparrows and Ammon Moyo (4:30:15) also of Sparrows will join the Bulawayo trio of Trust Chidomaya, Dumo Mkhwananzi and Willard Mutasa for the semis that will be held at White City Stadium a day before the final set for the ZITF Main Arena on April 29.
Naaz’s second vice-president Christina Ncube applauded the Bulawayo Athletics Board (BAB) for hosting a successful event.
“I’m impressed with the way Bulawayo has managed to host such an event and this shows that the province is on the right track.
“Overall the competition was a success because we had a good coverage of events in all age groups, especially in the 200m races where we had more than 20 athletes competing.
“As an association, we also appreciate the assistance from the Minister of Sport (and Recreation), who came to support us in this event,” said Ncube.
Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) president Admire Masenda said he is happy to see sports facilities being utilised in Bulawayo.
“From the Olympic committee, I think it’s a good thing to see that this facility is being utilised considering that these are the legacies of the 2014 (AUSC) Youth Games.
“It’s also a good thing to get our athletes coming to compete in such environments whose standards are very high.
“ It shows that investment is being put to good use and is paying off.
“What I can take away since my arrival in Bulawayo is the utilisation of venues because I have also been to the Cana Zone VI games and everything is in place,” said Masenda.
“We need more of these events so that our athletes get used to such competitive events. I think one of the problems we have been facing in athletics is that we encounter top class facilities when we are in big competitions.
“When athletes get to such big events they panic as they will be seeing facilities they are not used to.
“I think we should be organising more of these events,” he said.
Masenda said he believes athletics is heading in the right direction following a $300 000 sponsorship deal from JM Busha last month.
“I have confidence that athletics is heading in the right direction since Naaz signed a deal with JM Busha.
“There is a lot of work to be done, not only in athletics, but all sporting disciplines around the country.
“To see such interest and commitment from athletes as well as such organised events shows that we are destined for greatness as a country,” Masenda said.