ZIMBABWE'S Youth and Junior beach volleyball teams that took part in the World Championships qualifiers first round in Windhoek, Namibia, booked their places in the African Championships after they all finished in the top three over the weekend.
The two-day event was held on Saturday and Sunday with teams from the Southern Africa region taking part and the top three progressed to the African Championships to be held at a date and venue to be advised by the Confederation of African Volleyball.
Zimbabwe sent four teams for the qualifiers participating in the Youth boys and girls and the junior men and women categories.
All the teams finished in the top three with the pair of Panashe Mhandu and Elton Chiketa finishing first in the Youth boys competition. They won all their matches, beating the fancied Namibian team to proceed to the continental competition.
The junior men's team of Simbarashe Kaseke and Arnold Mutubuki were second after losing to Namibia 17-21, 15-21 in the finals. They had earlier on defeated Swaziland 21-18, 22-20 to reach the finals.
In the girls' category, Progress Gasa and Princess Moyo were second behind Namibia in the Youth qualifiers while the pair of Mathilda Dube and Charity Chikowore also came second behind the hosts in the junior women competition.
Despite failing to win the finals, the teams qualified for the African Youth and Junior Beach volleyball championships and team coach Viola Muchaona is confident of better showing during the continental event. Zimbabwe Volleyball Association first vice president, Chris Chivinge, believes the result signals a new era for the game in the country.
"Having all our teams qualifying for the continental round is commendable to say the least. What this means is all the teams have to undergo high performance training at our centres of excellence."