Zimbabwe: Country's Athletics Tracks Declared Unsuitable

Bulawayo — World Athletics say they do not recognise any athletics track in Zimbabwe, for use in international competitions, amid revelations the National Sports Stadium track needs to be replaced.

Imre Matrahazi, the World Athletics senior technical manager, said the country did not have a certified track as any track, which is more than eight years old, isn't eligible for certification.

"In order to ensure that World Athletics guarantee a good quality surface for athletics competition, starting from January 2019, all certificates under the scheme are issued with a maximum five-year validity," said World Athletics.

"Approvals may be limited to shorter periods, depending on the age of the surface.

"Depending on the age of the track surface, at the time of the first application, the following validity periods shall apply; new or one year (five years), two-three years (four years), four-to-five years (three years), six-to-seven years (two years), eight years (one year).

"More than eight years (not certifiable).

"Under the current scheme, all outdoor facility certificates already existing on January 1, 2019, will be considered expired on December 31, 2023."

The National Sports Stadium track was last renovated ahead of the 1995 All Africa Games, 25 years ago.

Bulawayo's White City Stadium, despite having undergone refurbishment ahead of the 2014 African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games, missed out on the critical element when only the 100m stretch had tartan surface laid.

World Athletics said it was aware renovations may involve re-topping of the existing synthetic surface but said the product used for re-topping will be shown on the new certificate.

The advice of the laboratory, which would have done the testing, might be needed to determine the appropriate additional thickness of synthetic and compatibility of the products in order to still meet the Track and Runway Synthetic Surface Testing Specifications.

"The approval of World Athletics should not be assumed and, if in doubt, World Athletics should be consulted before renovation is undertaken," the organisation said.

The cost of certification for an athletics facility has been put at US$10 000 for Class One track and US$2 000 for a Class Two track while extensions, for both classes, requires a payment of US$1 000.

Class One tracks are those that are in conformity with the requirements of Rule Two of the technical rules.

Class Two will be facilities that the in-situ tests for compliance have not been performed but their synthetic surfaces have a valid product certificate. They must also conform to the stringent requirements for accurate measurement contained in the World Athletics rules and regulations.

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