ONE of the country's top distance runners, Fortunate Chidzivo, remains positive as she continues her build-up to the Olympic Games qualifiers.
She has now moved her training base back home.
Chidzivo has been travelling between Zimbabwe and South Africa for training, but says she will be having her preparations here at home.
She returned from South Africa last month.
Chidzivo is one of the promising athletes earmarked for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
She posted a good time at the world half marathon last year.
She ran 1 hour 10 minutes 50 seconds at the world half marathon, setting a national record in the process.
Currently, she is working with coach Cephas Pasipamire.
With a limited number of competitions, for qualification, Chidzivo says she is aware of the daunting task ahead, since she is now likely to have one attempt to try and qualify for the Games.
The qualifying time for women in marathon is 2 hours 29 minutes 30 seconds and for men it's 2 hours 11 minutes 30 seconds.
"It's very hard but we are trying, by all means, to stay positive and I am working with experienced coaches.
"They are trying their best, to put everything together, so that it will be just one shot.
"We are not pushing for fast times but we are only going to push to qualify.
"Basing on my half marathon PB (personal best), we are already in the range of qualifying," said Chidzivo.
She is expected to run in Cape Town on May 23.
But, before that, she is expected to take part in the Southern Region half marathon on May 1 in Port Elizabeth.
"To avoid too much travelling, and in this pandemic, to avoid being infected by Covid-19, I am just going to train in Zimbabwe," she said.
"Then, I will just go out for the race, so, we are hoping to leave on the 27th, or 28th of April, to compete in the Southern Region half marathon ,and then go for the actual marathon.
"I have to do a tempo run, for three weeks or four weeks before the race, so we are going to use the Port Elizabeth race, just to get the confidence."
It has been frustrating for athletes, who have in some instances been forced to re-start training after reaching their peak, in preparations.
They are also struggling to get races.
"We were invited for races in Germany but we can no longer travel because of Covid-19.
"If we were going to have a race in March, looking at the times we were running at training, during time trials and speed work, we were looking forward to run 2:25 to 2:27.
"But, then, we had to drop after we heard that we were no longer able to run.
"So, we dropped back, just to rest the body, and we are starting training again. The actual training for marathon is going to start on the 1st of March. Now we are in the loading phase.
"I am now used to the frustrations.
"For me, 2020 was more frustrating, so, I am no longer affected by this because last year is when I was really frustrated.
"I don't think I will face anything that will frustrate me more than what I had to deal with in 2020," said Chidzivo.
National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe director for coaching, talent identification and development, Lisimati Phakamile, said they will find a way to make up for the lost local competitions.
These usually serve as the base for preparation for major competitions.
"We have cancelled the national cross country and we have also cancelled the provincial cross-country competitions.
"We have a challenge there that we have missed the base and background of our training and the background of our preparation part.
"Nonetheless, when the restrictions are lowered, we are hoping that we will quickly resume our calendar, see where we are and follow our calendar," Phakamile said.