Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE senior men’s 4x100m athletics relay team yesterday received a major boost when the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee presented them with return airfares to travel for the IAAF World Relays in Japan next week. The airfares for the delegation cost US$10 000.
The team is made up of Dickson Kamungeremu, Tatenda Tsumba, Itayi Vambe and Ngoni Makusha.
Fifth athlete Dickson Kapandura, coach David Tinago and assistant coach, who is also a physiotherapist Keegan Cooke, complete the delegation.
The team is expected to leave for Yokohama on Wednesday for the biggest international meet that will be held on May 12 and 13.
This is the first time Zimbabwe will be represented at the World Relay Championships. And, naturally, the team’s success which saw them broke a 12-year national record, has excited everyone.
ZOC are now partnering the relay team which might qualify for Tokyo 2020.
“You have got to realise that both in your individual capacities and collectively as a team you have so much potential and I hope that the focus is there as well,’’ said ZOC chief executive Anna Mguni.
“Athletics is our priority, it is our priority sport code. We get funding from the International Olympic Committee, so we have to make decisions for sport codes that are just within the Olympic movement.
“Unfortunately, we can’t support everybody . . . we can only support those sport codes which are Olympic sports and athletics is our top priority at the moment, so that is why we have come on board.’’
NAAZ president Tendai Tagara hailed the support they received for the team which ran 38,95 seconds in Gaborone, Botswana, to qualify for the first time.
“After our qualification the big guys (other countries) were now looking for Zimbabwe, ‘come let’s run together’, so they were trying to push us because that 38,95s was a great time, not just a boys’ time,’’ he said.
“I was saying to the boys, the moment you run such a time, you also open yourselves to be a product worth of support.
“I was telling them the kit we have for Mizuno was brought by Talkmore Nyongani, we have Adidas brought in by Lewis Banda and Brian (Dzingai).
“I was saying you must create your own brand so that the partners will join you.
“I am happy that Faithwear have found it necessary to join the team.
“Our focus in Japan is to say can we be in the top eight?
“If we are in the top eight, it means we are in Doha for the Champs.
“This is the national flag that is being carried for us all.’’
The brief ceremony was also attended by former ZOC board member Titus Zvomuya.