Team Zimbabwe Off to COSASA After Strong Start in Mauritius

Team Zimbabwe, comprising a massive 103 nationally ranked track and field athletes from the primary and secondary school level, has arrived in Maseru, Lesotho where the Confederation of Southern African Schools Association (COSASA) Championships being held at Sesotho Stadium started yesterday, Thursday, April 30 through Sunday, May 3. The National Association of Secondary School Heads(NASH) used their National Athletics Championships, which were held at Southeastern College in Chiredzi in March, as well as other national and international trials and events to select its team.

Six of the nineteen Zimbabwean athletes who competed at the Africa Youth Championships in Mauritius last week have joined the team traveling from Harare in Johannesburg to proceed to Maseru. Team Zimbabwe earned three medals last week in Mauritius and had several athletes finish fourth or fifth in their final races. The IAAF contest which included teams from twenty seven nations, served as a qualification event for the IAAF World Youth Championships to be held in Colombia this July.

Nomatter Kapfudzaruwa earned silver in the 400m with an electronic time of 59.03. South African based Shingirai Hlanguyo earned bronze in the men’s 100m with an electronic time of 10.52 seconds. The women’s medley relay of Kiana Lee Piage, Nathalie Kacharidza, Kapfudzaruwa and Enlitha Ncube, also earned bronze in Mauritius.

Favorite middle distance runner Ncube did not medal at the competition in her 1500m race, but finished a disappointing fourth. Last year Ncube earned a gold medal in the 1500m at the COSASA games in Botswana, a run which earned her the opportunity to compete in the World Junior Championships in Oregon,USA last July.

Though he finished fourth in the final with a slower time, Leon Tafirenyika ran the men’s 400m in 48.58 in the semi-final, a personal best time which qualified him for the World Youth Championships taking place in Cali, Colombia in July.

Last year, Team Zimbabwe earned 17 medals at the COSASA Championships, which were held in Botswana. Team Zimbabwe’s Head Coach Lisimathi Phakamile ambitiously stated at a press conference in Bulawayo earlier this week that Team Zimbabwe was aiming to finish first and earn at least 18 gold medals for the nation.