Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe are looking at strengthening their structures after securing support from the Olympic Solidarity.
They believe this will improve results on the track and field.
Athletics, through the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, got funding from the Olympic Solidarity who availed US$30 000 for the programme expected to run until December.
NAAZ president, Tendai Tagara, said they want to reinforce the various areas from administration to athletes’ development.
They have engaged veteran administrator, Robert Mutsauki, to assist them with the initiative.
“The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe is entering a new era of rebirth by advocating the strengthening of the organisation’s structure after securing support from the Olympic Solidarity,’’ said Tagara.
“We have hired an expert to lead the process in the name of Robert Mutsauki. This is part of our preparation for the next Olympic cycle.
“The objective is to see how best we can strengthen the organisation’s capacity to achieve better results.
“Mutsauki is a former president of athletics (in Zimbabwe) who went on to lead the continental development portfolio for Africa and later on became a sports consultant.
“Recently he was in Kenya spearheading Kenya Olympic Committee strategic plan.
“Because he is one of us, and he has been there, we hope to open a new chapter with him.’’ Tagara said they were in the process of consulting their stakeholders, including athletes, sponsors, provincial executives, uniformed forces, clubs, Naph and Nash.
They want to come up with comprehensive solutions and mechanisms that will lead to the realisation of their goals.
“The process has started and will last until end of December 2019. We want to start planning for the implementation by January and coincide with the next Olympic cycle of 2021-2024,” Tagara said.
The NAAZ president admitted the major challenge is bridging the gap between juniors and seniors as they were losing talented athletes after school.
“The Chamber of Mines was (in the past) the backbone as athletes from schools were absorbed into mines clubs where there were guaranteed jobs, apprentice and salaries.
“This is a critical issue we have to tackle in the next cycle.
“We will evaluate our strategic plan quarterly and we felt it was wise to look for support now to start preparing for the creation of a foundation for the next cycle rather than to start late.
“We are happy that when we applied we got the support through our Olympic committee,” said Tagara. The national association were also hoping for qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and some of the athletes include long-distance runner Rutendo Nyahora and triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya.