Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe is asking teenage athletes to fork out US$300 in order to participate in the upcoming Botswana International Invitational meet.
This move has drawn the ire of talented but underprivileged athletes.
According to the circular from the association secretary general, Cynthia Phiri, the Botswana meet will be used as a qualifier for the world championships, African Games and the World Junior Championships.
“Naaz is inviting athletes who participated at the national Nash 18 and under 20 to attend the Botswana international invitation on 27th April 2019, in the following events.(All those who came position 1-4 are invited).
“This is major selection meeting for world champs, All Africa Game, and World juniors,” reads the circular.
Interested athletes were asked to pay US$300 or 800RTGS$ to the association’s bank account.
In Botswana, the athletes will compete in 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, long jump, javelin, triple and high jump events.
“This is unfair to athletes who are talented because they have no resources to meet those requirements. The country will be prejudiced of talent and medal chances at these major events because only those who can afford will be considered. Where is the international grant which is given to associations?” fumed an athlete who requested anonymity.
Naaz president, Tendai Tagara, defended his association’s decision to charge athletes participating fees, arguing that they were not going there as national team representatives but in their individual capacities.
The call for young Zimbabwean athletes to compete in Botswana comes at a time when the International Association of Athletics Federations (Iaaf) has revealed that no Zimbabwean track field has a validation certificate from the mother-body.
IAAF technical manager, competitions and events Imre Matrahazi said they engaged Naaz over White City Stadium about five years ago but there has been no progress.