THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe are shifting their focus to the new upcoming season where an increased number of local competitions have been lined up in a move expected to enhance athletes’ performance.
The national association released a fully packed calendar for the year, with a number of provincial cross-country events scheduled for January in Harare, Manicaland and Bulawayo.
Track and field events get underway in February and the emphasis is on provinces staging competitions within their areas while the national association focuses on running main national events.
NAAZ president Tendai Tagara said they are decentralising competitions to provinces which will avail more competition and access to athletes.
“The association, at national level, will concentrate on four major events which are the national cross-country, national junior championships, three national open championships and national inter-provincial championships.
“These must be run professionally at the highest level. The association has to use the best qualified officials at these competitions. Bulawayo and Harare remain two major venues for these events because of tracks.
“The national cross-country can be hosted anywhere, and Mashonaland West will host it. Athletes must compete in other provincial or district competitions, as preparation and sharpening for those four (national) events.
“We have also decentralised other competitions, which we used to run, even sponsored races,” said Tagara.
There are a number of international events coming up next year, including the World Cross-country Championships and Word Indoor Championships in March.
These will be followed by the World Relays in May and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games scheduled for July 23 to August 8. A number of local athletes are still chasing qualification for the rescheduled Games.
Soon after that, the juniors have the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, from August 17 to 22.