Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:12

Nyasango to re-appear at IAAF World Champs

Long distance specialist Cuthbert Nyasango will make his second consecutive appearance at the IAAF World Championships after being included in a five-member team selected by the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) at the weekend.

The 35-year-old was part of the Zimbabwe contingent at the Beijing Olympic Games two years ago, finishing 23rd. Other Beijing participants Gilbert Mutandiro and Cephas Pasipamire did not make the team this time around.

Nyasango, who was also at the Brazil Olympics where he finished seventh, is joined by Pardon Ndlovu and Millen Matende in the men's category for the London meeting set for August.

Only two female runners, Rutendo Nyahora and Fortunate Chidzivo, have set qualifying times for the London marathon and automatically make the Zimbabwe team.

NAAZ director of coaching Lisimati Phakamile commended the two women for their achievement, pointing out it was a great improvement on the 2015 edition.

"In 2015 we only had Olivia Chitate who went as a wild card entry for the 5000 meters. So it's actually a great improvement for the association as we have now that big team which has qualified," Phakamile said this week.

While Nyahora is a seasoned competitor who has been making headlines locally, Chidzivo is more of an unknown entity in local athletic circles.

"She is a newcomer," Phakamile pointed out. "It's her first major marathon. She set her qualifying time in South Africa but she has been based in China and she has also been training in Ethiopia so I think she has prepared very well."

While Zimbabwe's marathon team is set, none have so far qualified for the track and field events. Tatenda Tsumba was Zimbabwe's only representative in the sprints at the 2015 championships, exiting in the first round.

Phakamile however remains optimistic, insisting there is still time for Zimbabwe's sprint prospects to make the grade.

"We are expecting any of them to qualify anytime because they are already going into their major events around the world," he said.

"Looking at the guys who are abroad, we are actually very hopeful that even himself Tatenda, Tinashe Mutanga and Brian Mada can come up with a qualifying performance anytime from now. We hope that those guys might do that and we just want to wish them the best of luck in their endeavours."

The NAAZ official however admitted that the picture looked gloomy in the women's category for the sprint events.

"In the women's category, on the seniors department it's actually very difficult. I don't see any prospects at the moment ... I don't see any that can make the grade anytime soon."