ZOC chief executive officer, Anna Mguni, confirmed this week that seven athletes had so far qualified for the games. Mguni said they would be going to London with participants from athletics, triathlon, swimming, rowing and tennis.
Those that have already made the cut are swimmer Kirsty Coventry, long jumper Ngonidzashe Makusha, rowers Micheen Thornycroft and Jamie Fraser-Mackenzie and marathon runner Cuthbert Nyasango. Four other athletes, Wirimayi Zhuwawo, Gilbert Mutandiro, Nkosiyazi Sibanda and George Majaji have qualified through B standard but are still to work on their qualification time in order to get into the A standard which will guarantee them automatic qualification.
“We are allowed to forward a maximum of three athletes in the marathon category so we are going to see from the list of four athletes that have qualified through B standard which two other athletes are going to improve their time to join Nyasango who has already qualified in this category,” Mguni said.
“This means that the quartet of Zhuwao, Mutandiro, Sibanda and Majaji are fighting for the remaining two slots. These athletes have to run one or two marathons between now and May.”
The former basketball administrator also revealed that Makusha had only qualified to participate in the long jump.
“Makusha still has to improve on his time in the 100 metres category. We are also willing to assist him in any way possible,” she said
ZOC is looking forward to taking a team of 22 athletes with the bulk of them coming from athletics. “We have a number of athletes based in the United States who are busy trying to work on improving their times so that they can be eligible for selection.”
Zimbabwe will also be looking forward to the participation of triathlete Chris Felgate who is ranked second from Morocco’s Mehdi Essadiq in Africa. “Felgate will be participating at the African Competition set for March 30 in Mauritius so we hope that he is going to do better and automatically qualify for the games,” Mguni said.
“Mackenzie and Micheen, who are in the rowing business, are back home from a two-week training camp at High Performance Centre in Spain.”
Tennis star, Takanyi Garanganga, is also expected to make a mark in the tennis category.
“Garanganga plays in the circuit in United States and is the All-Africa Games champion so we hope that he is going to get an automatic entry through a wild card. The wild card selections are done in June and we are just waiting to hear from the responsible authorities sometime in June whether he is going to make it.”
Mguni told Standardsport that chef de Mission, Busi Chindove, who came back from London recently where she had gone for the preparations of the event, revealed the team was poised to get support from the Zimbabwean community in the United Kingdom.
“She told us that the embassy, Zimbabweans leaving in the diaspora and the organising committee have pledged maximum support for the team,” Mguni said. Mguni disclosed that they had budgeted US$450 000 for the games but emphasised on developing the future stars.
“We must not be talking about 2012 London Olympics at this stage. We should be looking at developmental projects with Brazil 2016 in mind.