CRACK middle distance runner Olivia Chitate is probably the athlete with the highest profile from the 14-member Zimbabwe Cross Country team, expected to leave the country today for the Southern Region Cross Country Championship in Lesotho.
The seasoned athlete won the women's 8km race during the inter-provincial championship at Allan Lowry in 30 minutes 03.32seconds two weeks ago and could get the spur from team-mate Constance Nyasango who finished third.
National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president Tendai Tagara was yesterday optimistic that the team would do well during the championship in Maseru on Saturday.
"We are planning that they will leave tomorrow (today) by road and arrive in Maseru on Friday.
"The athletes will have a brief rest and then compete on Saturday.
"I think we have a decent team with the likes of Chitate, who is battle-hardened. She has been competing in South African races and is also preparing for the World Championships," said Tagara.
Salatiel Zangure, who is the team coach, said 11 athletes had confirmed for the trip by yesterday.
"So far we are regrouping and should be leaving tomorrow (today).
"If possible, we should remain in Lesotho on Sunday and give support to Dynamos who will be playing (against Lesotho Corerctional Services)," said Zangure.
Meanwhile Tagara said a German national would be coming to Zimbabwe next month to hold a high-level course for jumps.
"We have organised a high level course for jumps from March 21 to 24 and we are bringing in a German coach who is also an IAAF lecturer.
"Jumps have been lagging behind and each province should bring three people while we have 10 slots for private schools, clubs and tertiary institutions.
"Private schools have the facilities and the 10 slots are offered on first-come-first serve basis," said Tagara.