After two days of competition, 103 strong Team Zimbabwe is topping the medals table at the current Confederation of Schools Sport Association of Southern Africa (COSASA) Athletics Championships in Maseru, Lesotho. After two of the three days of the meet, Zimbabwe has matched its last year’s take of 17 gold, as well as earning 21 silver and 14 bronze medals, for a total of 52 compared to Namibia’s 45 including 15 gold and Lesotho’s total of 8 including 4 golds.
This year’s competition only includes three countries – Namibia, Zimbabwe and hosts Lesotho, with other SADC countries including last year’s hosts Botswana and 2013 hosts Zambia citing lack of funding as the main reason for pulling out. Stronghold South Africa also did not participate, narrowing the competition for Team Zimbabwe.
The opening day of the Championships on Thursday mainly featured throws and Namibia dominated, taking an early lead with thirteen golds to Zimbabwe’s four, three of which were won in middle distance races that were interspersed with the field events. Zimbabwe only won a single gold in a throw event, from Energy Machingo who threw 31.73m in the U14 javelin event.
Day 2 of the championships moved to concentrate on the middle distances on the track, and Zimbabwe’s strength shone. Qhubekani Dube won double gold running a fantastic U17 women’s 1500m in 4:34.67 and 3000m in 9:58.61 The Zimbabwean U17 boys swept all medals in the 1500m with Takunda Chawonza taking gold in 4:08.38.
Nomatter Kapfundzarura repeated her 400m gold performance from Mauritius to again win gold with a run of 56.82. Team Zimbabwe Captain Lovejoy Mapfumo brought home double gold in the 400m run in a time of 48.87 and in the 400m hurdles with a time of 55.11.
At the jump pit, Cloud Masibhera won gold for Zimbabwe with a jump of 6.86m Ironically, while he was jumping in Maseru, Zimbabwean Olympian Ngonidzashe Makusha was competing in Florida, where he also won gold with a jump of 7.68m.
Ngonidzashe Makusha (Zimbabwe) won Long Jump men with 7.68m (w:3.8) yesterday in Orlando -Florida- @athleticsafrica
— TRACKINSUN (@Trackinsun) May 1, 2015
Moses Mukoyi, Headmaster of St Faith’s School, is part of the National Association of Secondary School Heads (NASH) executive committee accompanying the athletes. He stated that beyond the medals and competition, “the student athletes are thoroughly enjoying the experience and the exposure. I think that should always be the essence of sportsmanship.”
COSASA wraps up today with sprints and relays, and Team Zimbabwe looks forward to another day on top of the medal table.