As they continue with their efforts to improve the standard of athletics in the country, the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe are set to hold jumps and sprints seminars for local coaches in Harare and Bulawayo between this month and December. The three seminars will take off on November 24 with the International Elite jumps seminar that will run until November 26 in Harare. They will be conducted by Juan Jose Alfonso Martinez from Cuba.
It will be followed by the International Elite sprints in Bulawayo from November 29 to 30. The programme concludes with another sprints seminar set for December 1 and 2 in Harare. The two sprints seminars will be conducted by top Botswana sprints coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe.
NAAZ director for coaching, talent identification and development Lisimati Phakamile said this comes after the athletics mother body was impressed with the results from similar seminars held last year under the guidance of IAAF lecturer Torsten Tesch from Germany. Tesch had a workshop on talent identification and development, kids athletics and a high level jumps seminar in Harare. Phakamile said there was a notable improvement by their youths and junior athletes in the 2017 season.
"We have seminars coming up this month-end for jumps and sprints. We felt it's important to have the seminar looking at the results we got from last year's seminars (held in preparation) for the 2017 season.
"After we had the seminars and workshops in the country we had 36 youths and juniors in total qualifying for regional and international events. So we felt that we should do the seminars again. This time around we have a jumps specialist from Cuba. The courses are coming up this month end in Bulawayo and Harare," Phakamile said.
Zimbabwe picked nine medals, including three gold at the African Junior Championships in Algeria and one of the athletes reached the 800m finals at the World Youth Championships in Kenya. The NAAZ director for coaching, talent identification and development pointed out that it's high time the association concentrate on producing quality athletes that can qualify and win medals at international level.
"Our focus as the national association is we are now looking at the vision 2020. We are saying we want to go to Tokyo with medal hopefuls, with quality performance for podium.
"We are also looking at results we got from Algeria at the African Junior Championships, we want to convert those into international medals, that's the World Junior and World Youth. We have the World Junior in Finland next year. So we are saying we are targeting the youths we had this year. And we are also saying in the seniors we had a slump where we had no athletes qualifying for the World Championships. So it's our target that this time around we have qualifiers and athletes actually qualifying," said Phakamile.