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By Ellina Mhlanga
AFTER playing second fiddle to Bulawayo during the previous edition of the National cross-country event last year, Harare Province want to turn the tables in Kwekwe. The national competition has been slated for February 9 and is expected to attract all provinces with the seniors, juniors and cadets taking part.
Most of the provinces have already begun assembling teams for the event with some hosting their provincial events over the weekend.
Harare are looking at finalising their team on February 2 during the Mr Pace cross-country event in Chitungwiza.
The competition is hosted by Mr Pace Athletics Club and is run by long-distance runner Collen Makaza.
The senior men and women will compete in the 10km race while junior men will go for the 8km race.
Junior women are going to fight for honours in 6km.
Cadets will take part in a 2km race.
The competition was initially scheduled for last Saturday but was moved to next month due to the disturbances that rocked the country earlier in the week.
Harare Athletics Board secretary-general, Sledge Chinyoka, said they would want to have a 25-member team made up of seniors and juniors.
“We are going to send the senior men and women as well as the junior men and women teams. We will be sending our best athletes.
“However, we won’t be having cadets in our team because of financial constraints, especially at the beginning of the season.
“So, we are targeting people that are already in our data base and we will select athletes on merit, that’s why we have the selection event. It’s an ongoing process,” said Chinyoka.
Chinyoka said they were gunning for the top spot and pinning their hopes on some of the country’s leading long distance runners based in the province.
“Last year we were second behind Bulawayo when they hosted the event and this time it’s in Kwekwe.
“We are looking at the likes of Betha Chikanga and Canisious Nyamutsita. Those are some of the most prominent athletes we expect to do well for us.
“And I believe this time we are in a better position to improve,” said Chinyoka.
Makaza, who is also the province’s coaches coordinator, said they will be targeting the top six as they seek to field a full contingent for both the seniors and juniors.
“For a team to score points in their respective races, it should feature six athletes and sometimes travelling expenses affect us.
“But this time we are hoping to field six athletes for each event,” said Makaza.
Other athletes the province will be hoping to make grade for the national competition include the likes of Rudo Mhonderwa, Wellington Varevi, Winfred Mutiro and Patience Murove.