Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
THE athletics team for the African Games trooped into camp on Sunday at the University of Zimbabwe for the final phase of their preparations.
Team coach, Lisimati Phakamile, confirmed the development as the team got down to business yesterday.
Zimbabwe are set to field 15 athletes in track and field events in Morocco when the athletics competition gets underway on August 26. It will run until August 30.
The athletics team is scheduled to leave for Morocco on August 22 and some of their athletes reported for camp on Sunday while Dickson Kapandura and Faith Dube were expected in Harare late yesterday.
“We have all athletes that are locally based, we are expecting two athletes — Dickson Kapandura from Victoria Falls and Faith Dube from Bulawayo — to join us tonight (last night). But everyone else is in camp.
“We are now sharpening on the team’s performance. The athletes have been working very hard in their respective bases but we are in camp together to work as a team to sharpen up our performance, determining aspects of every event.
“We are working on speed, running techniques and for our jumpers the jumping techniques and aspects that will help us perform better. We are actually continuing from the work they have been doing and I am impressed by their physical fitness,” said Phakamile.
Phakamile said they are expecting Dickson Kamungeremu, who is a member of the men’s 4x100m relay team to join the rest of the team later in the week when he returns from the Southern Africa Regional Chiefs’ Cooperation Organisations (SARPCCO) Games being held in Angola.
United States-based 200m sprinter Kundai Maguranyanga (20), who is also part of the athletics team for the African Games, is making his final preparations at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, and is expected to team-up with his teammates in Harare anytime soon before flying out to Morocco.
Maguranyanga, who is on a four-year athletics scholarship at Drake University in the United States, is currently on a vacation in South Africa where his father, Joseph, lives.
The pair of Ngoni Makusha and Tatenda Tsumba are in Belgium where they are taking part in a number of competitions as part of their build-up to Morocco. They will meet up with the rest of the team in Morocco since they have two more competitions on August 17 and 23.
Phakamile said judging from the results coming from Belgium they are anticipating some good performances from the two athletes who are among their medal hopefuls at the continental multi-sport event.
“The guys in Belgium we will meet up with them in Morocco because they still have two events they are going to compete in.
“I had a chat with their personal coach and manager, they have been doing well. In the second race their times dropped from the initial race they had but the coach said maybe it was because of the weather conditions. It was windy so they were running against the wind.
“So although the times dropped I take it as a good performance and it will sharpen them running against bad weather. It will also prepare them for Morocco,” said Phakamile.
Tsumba and Makusha are also pushing for qualification for the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar, later this year and next year’s Olympic Games in Japan.