The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: All Set for Youth Tourney

NATIONAL Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president, Joseph Mungwari, has declared his organisation ready to host the Southern Region Youth Championships at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow. The championships will feature young athletes from Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mungwari said everything was in place and the visiting countries were expected late yesterday and today.

"The preparations are at an advanced stage. So many countries are on their way. We have put everything together so that we try and make the best out of these championships.

"There are 10 countries that have confirmed their participation and are definitely coming which is very good and that's great support from the region," said Mungwari.

Mungwari said the youth championships are a good platform for them to identify future champions as they begin their preparations for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games to be held in China. "Our problem has been that of late preparations for very big events like the Olympics, so we deliberately decided to field the young athletes.

"They may not do as well as we expect but our aim is to expose them to a high level competition.

"They have to feel the heat now that's how they start. We cannot talk of weaknesses and comparing which country is the best because at this stage we are all trying to identify the future champions," said Mungwari.

The NAAZ president said they were grateful to the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, who catered for the team Zimbabwe's accommodation.

"The team got into camp at Prince Edward School, we wanted to take advantage of the (Africa Day) holiday, we tried to minimise the number of days we will be with them because of school.

"There may be late comers for the camp because some are coming from the remote areas. I would have loved to have them train at a tartan track but I understand they will be training at Prince Edward.

"Accommodation was paid for by ZOC and as an association we are very pleased indeed. They are our partners in everything we do and it's a good thing we are into it together. They are helpful and they are trying to give us a lot of support," said Mungwari.

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