National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) chairman Joseph Mungwari confirmed the development and revealed that preparations for hosting the event are on course.
“We have started the preparation of the event that will see us hosting 13 countries from the Southern Region in April. Last week we appointed Tendai Tagara from Manicaland to be the event’s organising committee chairman,” Mungwari said.
Mungwari said they will soon beef up the organising committee so that they start working towards formulating the event’s budget.
“We are going to meet very soon to beef up the organising committee. We are going to fill in a number of positions, but usually we start by calling for volunteers,” Mungwari added.
Mungwari said they needed to move fast in formulating the budget as they had to present it to the government for approval.
“We are going to cater for food and accommodation for all the countries that are going to take part in this event including their local transportation,” Mungwari added.
“Southern Region countries that will take part in the event are South Africa, Botswana, Zambia Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland, just to mention a few.
“Athletes will compete in track and field events, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus and javelin, among others.”
Mungwari added that the athletics season is set to start on January 21 as all the provinces are set to start preparing for the inter-provincials set for Redcliff’s Allan Lawry Golf course on February 11.
The event will also give the coaches a chance to select a team that will go for the South Africa Cross-Country Championships to be held on March 18 in South Africa.
“We have to assemble exceptionally good teams because we will be competing with other African powerhouses like Uganda, Morocco and Ethiopia in South Africa.”
The 21st February Movement 12 kilometres Road Race, Sunshine City, Kujatana Nkubotu Peace Half Marathon, Simon Muzenda Gutu Half Marathon and Victoria Falls Marathon are some of the regular high-profile events on the 2012 athletics calendar.
Committee of coaches to select final team
Mungwari also said a committee of coaches will select the team to compete at the event. “We are going to have a committee of coaches that is going to help us come up with a better team. We are just waiting for schools to unveil their calendar of events, then we can move in and start the ball rolling.
“We are waiting for the schools’ calendar because this event will be for the Under-18 category, as most under 18 athletes are of school-going age.”
“The coaches committee will do secondment and attachment. After comig up with a long list, athletes will eliminate each other as they compete at schools.
“This will then give us a short list that we will take as the final team,” Mungwari said.