ATHLETES will have something to look forward to following the approval of the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe Inter-provincial Championships expected to take place this month.
The meet is scheduled for November 29 at White City Stadium in Bulawayo with limited events.
Only five track events will be staged on the day — 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 5 000m.
NAAZ confirmed they got approval to host the championships.
It will be the first event for athletics after a long break due to the prevailing circumstances.
NAAZ director for coaching, talent identification and development, Lisimati Phakamile, said the main objective is to check athletes’ fitness and see how they will proceed going forward.
“This is a very important event in the year considering that we lost all the time to the (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Our target is to kick-start the sport back to life. We have major events coming up next year and it is important that such a programme starts.
“We also need to check on the athletes’ fitness so that we can assist on the way forward.
“Basically, we would be looking at the shape and fitness of our athletes, we don’t have much to look into but we hope that the long layoff did not affect them a lot,” said Phakamile
Major competitions lined up for next year include the Olympics and local athletes are still battling for qualification.
There is also the Africa Senior Championships and the World Under-20 Championships.
These were rescheduled to 2021 following the coronavirus outbreak.
Phakamile said they will also get a chance to have a look at some of the athletes earmarked for next year’s major competitions.
“Provincial teams are sending their athletes. We will basically be looking at the guys we have been helping with programmes, and the teams that were earmarked for this year’s major events before Covid-19.
“We had the Olympics, we had the Africa Senior and World Juniors, so we are basically looking at the athletes that were scheduled for those events.
“This is a very important step in the rebuilding, and restart, of serious competitions and training, considering the events that have been moved to next year.
“Our season will start from this competition” said Phakamile.
Ngoni Makusha, who is eyeing qualification for the Olympics, is looking forward to participating in the meet.
“I will be competing at the inter-provincials. I have just started doing some speed work training from last week, so I wouldn’t be expecting super quick times.
“But, I am taking the competition as part of my training and preparation for the beginning of the season in December.
“In the past few months I have been working more on stamina, strength and technique and, just recently, started speed work, so the competition will show me where I am in terms of fitness,” said Makusha.
All provinces are expected to take part and those that are unable to field full teams are expected to communicate before the championships so that those slots are given to other athletes, in particular, juniors.