Team Zimbabwe ended Day 8 of the Region 5 games second on the athletics log standings with a collection of 45 medals as of this afternoon with 10 gold, 17 silver and 18 bronze medals. South Africa is leading the table.
Zimbabwe has been touted as the stronghold for middle distances in the AUSC games, and all eyes were on Youth Olympian athletes Maryjoy Mudyiravanji and her Enlitha Ncube to bring home a gold this morning in the 1500m. However, an upset led to Maryjoy finishing second for silver in a time of 4.36.80 with her teammate Enlitha trailing for the bronze in 4.37.14 minutes
Another highlight was the women’s 4x100m relay where Zimbabwe’s team of Buhle Geza, Chido Dzinotyiwei, Yvonne Vanhuvaone and Ruva Mzinde earned a bronze with a respectable relay time of 48.62. Dzingotyiwei started the relay in a strong position and Mzinde of Hillcrest College brought it home with the fastest leg of the relay in a personal best time.
The boys’ 4 x100 m relay was an equally tense competition. Zimbabwe placed fourth for more than half of race. However, Shingirai Hlanguyo pulled Zimbabwe back into the race at the final leg to post a time of 41.36 seconds after Botswana was disqualified to bring home a silver medal for the team.
Zimbabwe bagged another gold medal through Fostina Madziva who won the T13 visually impaired finals women category with a time of 5:28 seconds with her compatriot Makwara Nosta ending the race in fourth place.
Team Zimbabwe athletics coach, Benson Samu said things had not gone according to his plans but he was still hopeful that the team will get more medals in the tournament: “We have had a hectic day today as we missed out on the gold medal we were targeting in the 1500m race. However, l am glad that we managed to scoop silver and bronze at the end of it all. We still have hopes of getting the gold medals in tomorrow’s steeplechase final races.
“Enlitha Ncube is not in her best form because of the injury she picked up during the competition, but she is making great improvement with every event she takes part in. I’m sure by the time we get to the next competitions next year she will have reached her peak performance,” added Samu.
Zimbabwe went on to scoop another bronze medal on the field in the women’s shot put final with Tapiwa Chetsanga landing a 10,62 metres throw behind the South African duo of Wenzel Breyte and Nteka Du Toit who earned gold and silver with 12,85 and 11,20 metres throws respectively.
Heavy rains once again brought the events at White City to a premature close today. Athletics resume tomorrow morning beginning with men’s triple jump where Zimbabwe is placing its hopes for medals on jumpers Bekisisa Tsuma and Brian Mada.