Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporter
THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) will send a team of four athletes to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships to be held on March 26 in Kampala, Uganda.
Dzidzai Gumede will represent the country in the junior women’s 6km race, while Rudo Mhonderwa will compete in the senior women’s 8km race. Dumo Mkhwananzi will take part in the junior men’s 8km race and Wellington Varevi in the senior men’s 12km race.
All the runners booked their places in the IAAF competition at a National Cross Country competition held at Hillside Dams in Bulawayo last month.
Naaz’s second vice-president Christina Ncube said the association was initially supposed to send a team of eight runners, but some athletes withdrew due to financial challenges.
“The team is preparing well with Rudo training in South Africa, while the other three are locally based and doing well. They are seasoned athletes and are not new to such competitive levels, so we are hoping they will bring medals. However, we had a couple of challenges with some of our athletes being forced to withdraw due to some financial constraints,” said Ncube.
“Some juniors withdrew because they are below the age of 16 in accordance with tournament’s rules. All participants must be over 16. We are just hoping they won’t get discouraged so they represent us in the next competition because they are very good. This is a big competition for us and we are glad this is part of the association’s vision to compete in international tournaments, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics project,” she said.
The team will depart for Uganda on March 24 and is expected back in the country on March 27.