ZIMBABWE’S 4x100m relay team is on Thursday scheduled to leave for the World Athletics Relays to be held in Poland this weekend.
The competition is set to take place on Saturday and Sunday.
While on the long list, they had six athletes, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe have indicated they will be sending five including one reserve.
The five are Ngoni Makusha, Dickson Kamungeremu, Itayi Vambe, Makanaka Charamba and South Africa-based Rodwell Ndlovu.
Gerren Muwishi, who is the sixth athlete on the list did not make it.
The trip to Poland is being funded by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe.
The top eight teams at the event automatically qualify for the Olympic Games. Athletics is still chasing qualification and are taking this as another opportunity they can try and qualify for the Games.
NAAZ president Tendai Tagara confirmed the team is expected to fly out on Thursday with the pair of Ndlovu, and Makusha, who has been training at a High Performance Centre in South Africa expected to fly directly to Poland.
“They are in South Africa for visas, so they (Kamungeremu, Charamba, Vambe and Phakamile) fly back to Zimbabwe tomorrow, Wednesday they go for Covid tests and on Thursday they fly to Poland.
“We got air tickets from ZOC and NAAZ is paying for food and accommodation,” said Tagara.
The 4x100m relay team will be returning to world stage after posting an impressive time of 38.95 seconds in 2019 at the Efika Athletics Club Championships, in Gaborone, Botswana. That saw them qualifying for the 2019 edition of the global meet.
They also set a new national record in the process.
With less activity and competitions last year, the same time they posted in 2019 has seen them making the World Relays again this year.
UK-based Tatenda Tsumba, who was part of the team in 2019 and had been expected to be part of the team going to Poland is not able to make it for the meet.
“He said he will not be able to get his passport in time from the Polish embassy,” said Tagara.
On the selection of the team, the NAAZ president said it is based on the athletes’ performance, based on their season’s best times.
Meanwhile national junior coach Briad Nhubu believes with more competitions and training, there is a good chance of a number of juniors making the grade for the World Under-20 Championships in August, in Kenya.
The national association held the National Junior Championships at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday to begin their selection process.
Although none of the participants made the qualifying standards, Nhubu said based on the performance, it’s looking promising.
Some of the outstanding athletes on Sunday include Kudakwashe Chadenga, who jumped 2.14m in high jump, slightly missing on the qualifying standard of 2.16m.
“Athletes are actually coming back on track after a long break but the performance was so impressive. I was really impressed.
“Of course they didn’t make it in terms of qualifying standards, some missed with small margins. Kudakwashe Chadenga jumped 2.14m in high jump, that’s his personal best and I think a national record for juniors. The previous one was 2.11m set in 2018.
“So he missed qualification by just 2cm because the qualifying standard is 2.16m.
“Given more chances of competing at a higher level of competition we hope such athletes can qualify.
“We also had quite a number of athletes that posted good times. Looking at the period they had with no competition and no training, the times are quite good. The 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, we had the likes of Takudzwa Chiyangwa in 200m and 400m and Clinton Muunga in 100m and 200m,” said Nhubu.
However, he admitted with a limited number of athletes to compete at the world meet, they have a mammoth task to try and qualify early.