An all male reduced team of nine athletes and one coach boarded a plane for Addis Ababa yesterday (3 March 2015) to represent Zimbabwe in the 12th African Junior Athletics Championships. The team consists of six sprinters, one middle distance runner, one hurdler and one jumper.
In February, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) announced that it planned to send 11 athletes to the championships, being held in the Ethiopian capital from March 5-8. Only one official, national junior coach Silas Muringani, accompanied the athletes.
SSN’s Player of the Year for 2014, Brian Mada, is a medal hopeful in Addis. Mada jumped 15,65 in the triple jump to win gold at the Region 5 games. Though recovering from a minor ankle injury, Mada is hopeful to repeat a great jump as he had in Bulawayo in December. Leaving for Addis today, Mada told SSN ” Of course I would love to bring home a medal for Zimbabwe, but my main goal is to do a great jump, to keep bettering my distances.”
Noticeably absent from the travelling team yesterday are middle distance runners Enlitha Ncube, Maryjoy Mudyiravanji and Titus Nyathi, all three who represented Zimbabwe at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing last year and were entered to take part in Addis. Ncube is the only Zimbabwean athlete who has already qualified for the IAAF World Youth Championships which take place in Cali, Colombia 15-19 July, 2015. Ncube qualified with a 2:12 time for the 800 at the AUSC Region 5 games staged in Bulawayo in December and was a medal favorite for Addis.
ZBC today attributed “administrative blundering between Bindura University and NAAZ” as the reason the trio did not travel to the games. The nine travelling athletes were tasked to raise their own funds for the trip and were only brought to buy tickets a day before departure (2 March 2015).
Last week, Prince Edward invited coach Silas Muringani to bring Team Zimbabwe athletes to compete in the Prince Edwards Sprints Challenge along top local high school athletes in preparation for the continental meet. Middle distance runner Nyasha Mutsetse, now studying at Prince Edward, won the U20 800m with a convincing time of 1:54:43, nine seconds before the second place finisher Tariro Mapfumo of St George’s College who finished in 2:03:59.
Interestingly, however, South African based sprinter Shingirayi Hlanguyo came third at PE Sprints in the U20 200m race with a time of 22.77 , behind runners from Prince Edward and Peterhouse who finished in 22.31 and 22.63 respectively.
|Team Zimbabwe: African Junior Athletics Championships Addis 2015|
|Brian Mada||Triple Jump|
|Maxen Ncube||100m, 200m, 4x100m|
|Shingirayi Hlanguyo||100m, 4x100m|
|Tafadzwa Munyawarara||100m, 4x100m|
|Tinotenda Matiyenga||100m, 200m, 4x100m|
|Andy Panashe Majuru||200m, 400m|
|Elvis Makava||110m Hurdles|