Tafadzwa Tichawangana Sports Correspondent
THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) president Tendai Tagara says the association plans to set up high altitude training centres in Manicaland.
In an interview with the Post Sport on the sidelines of the 2018 Old Mutual Vumba Mountain Run last Saturday, Tagara said:
“We want to follow the Kenyan model where sportswear giants such as Nike and Adidas have taken advantage of the terrain and high altitude in parts of Kenya to set up high altitude training centres.
“High altitude training centres will give us an opportunity to sell the Eastern Highlands as a sports tourism destination with both elite athletes and recreational runners coming to train here while enjoying its unique scenery and beauty,” he said.
Tagara said there are plans to use the Zimbabwe Republic Police training centre ahead of the 2019 World Champions.
“Next year we will work with the Zimbabwe Republic Police who already have a training centre at Vumba Heights and we want our team to train there ahead of the World Championships in Doha. Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics we sent our athletes to Nyanga due to our appreciation of the importance of high altitude training.
“In the long term we are looking at having most of our middle and long distance runners based in Manicaland as the province has the perfect conditions for their training,” he said.
About 1000 athletes from across the country took part in the 7th edition of the Old Mutual Vumba Mountain Run last Saturday.
For the third year running Canisious Nyamutsita won the Old Mutual Vumba Mountain Run 21km men’s race finishing in a time of 1hour 10minutes 48seconds.
There was a first time winner in the women’s 21km race as Rudo Mhondirwa clocked 1hour 23minutes and 20seconds.
Mhondirwa told Post Sport that she plans to build on her victory.
“My aim now is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This Old Mutual Vumba Mountain Run win gave me more confidence as I step up my preparations for next year and aim to qualify for the Olympics,” she said.
Tagara hailed sponsors Old Mutual for their continued support of athletics in the country.
“I am happy with the support that we are getting from Old Mutual and its partners. They are currently sponsoring seven races across the country and it was encouraging to see the some of the Old Mutual management team running in today’s race.
“This year’s edition was well organised and more spectacular. This race is growing from strength to strength every year,” he said.