HomeSportAthletics event in doubt

Athletics event in doubt

The championships run from May 26-27 and will see 13 southern African countries battling it out in the track and field events at the National Sports Stadium.

Nine countries have confirmed their participation so far, namely; Angola, Namibia, Swaziland Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi.

Naaz president Joseph Mungwari conceded that their financial books were in disarray.

“We need at least US$60 000 to successfully host this event. I cannot really quantify the exact amount of financial and material resources we have managed to raise, but we are still far short of what we need,” said Mungwari.

“We are given an annual US$15 000 administration grant by IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) but that is not enough. We wrote to them seeking help for these championships and even if they gave us some money right now, I do not think it would be more than US$10 000.”

Mungwari is however hopeful of a bail out from sports development organisation World Wide Scholarships and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
“World Wide Scholarships have promised to do a lot for us in terms of providing food and accommodation for the visitors. We have also asked for SRC’s help,” he said.

Naaz’s financial quagmire has seen the hosts intending to trim the provisional list of athletes from 50 down to 20.

While some of Team Zimbabwe’s athletes have school commitments, the dire situation has forced them to go into camp just a few days before the championships begin.

Zimbabwe’s medal hopefuls include middle-distance runner Sthulisiwe Zhou and sprinters Tinashe Mutanga and Dumisani Bhebhe, who all claimed gold medals in the competition’s last edition in Namibia last year.

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