Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe, who released their 2020 calendar yesterday, are happy to retain their partners who will continue to sponsor their events next season. The athletics season will begin early January with the national season-opening cross-country events.
NAAZ indicated they have retained Old Mutual, PPC Matopos, Mr Pace and JM Busha Races who, over the years, have been the main races.
Tendai Tagara, the NAAZ president, said the coming season will not be business as usual.
“We have retained our partners. We have retained JM Busha which will be bigger and better.
“For the sake of risk management, we want to advise those organising fun runs and aerobic runs outside their facilities and grounds that anything more than 5km is not a fun run and must be sanctioned by NAAZ.
“This issue was raised by the Athletes Commission and, as the mother-body, we must be seen in charge because if a person is run over during these fun runs, the association is held accountable by the Sports Commission and Government.
“They don’t look for organisers. We have very tragic experience in this regard. So, anything more than 5kms, must be registered with NAAZ.
“Athletes are complaining that they are being exploited in the name of fun runs for charity,” Tagara said.
NAAZ have pegged the sanctioning fee at $10 000.
“Sanctioning fee was US$$1 000 but we have changed this on value and reverted to local currency,” said Tagara.
To avoid athletes exploitation, NAAZ have said the organisers of such races should publish the prize money, at least, a month before the event.
“Any road race should publish prizes, latest a month before, so that athletes make an economic decision and not to ambush athletes,’’ he said.
“We are here to serve the athletes. Surely, a sponsor cannot invite athletes to a 42km race and say it’s a fun run.
“This must come to an end.”
Meanwhile, sprinter Ngoni Makusha says he is preparing for the upcoming season with the Africa senior championships and Olympic qualification as his top priority.
The sprinter, who was part of Zimbabwe world relay team at the IAAF World Relay in Japan this year, is still chasing the Tokyo 2020 qualification.
That process ends in June next year.
The other members of the team are Tatenda Tsumba, Daniel Kamungeremu and Itayi Vambe.
The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee have since partnered the relay team since the athletics is one of their priority sport code.
“The qualifying period ends in June, so I have to get as many races between now and then,’’ said Makusha.
“I will be starting my season in January or February, my first races will be in South Africa and right now I’m planning on going to the Pretoria High Performance Centre for training.
“I sent a proposal to help me with the funds and I am still waiting for the feedback.
“I have to go from this month to the end of December. It’s good to train there as there are better training facilities than here.”