Senior Sports Reporter
THE postponement of the African Senior Athletics Championships, to end of next month, has been welcomed by the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe.
The Algerian organisers are waiting for the green-light, from their national scientific commission for monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic, before making a final commitment.
NAAZ president, Tendai Tagara, said it gives them the chance to rope in some of their foreign-based athletes.
"We have an advantage because by then the USA track and field would be done and it will give us an opportunity to have our international athletes," said Tagara.
The championships are key for the African athletes as, for some, it gives them a chance to try and qualify for the Olympics.
Meanwhile, a number of local athletes are scheduled to compete in Zambia's national meet on May 15 and 16.
The mission is to try and make the times for the African Championships.
NAAZ director for coaching, talent identification and development, Lisimati Phakamile, has challenged the athletes, to push for qualifying times.
"The guys are pushing for Tokyo, the guys are pushing for Kenya World Under-20 Championships and are pushing for Algeria.
"So, each and every competition matters and it's my plea, and request, to all our athletes that, whenever they get onto the track, let it be for the business that they are coming for, that is to run.
"I want to challenge all athletes who will be going on track this weekend, and the weekend after, that they should run their best and make sure they clock the required times.
"This is a very important event, it's one of those stepping stones to qualifying for the major continental and world championships," said Phakamile.
After the Zambia meet, most of them will be back on track on May 22, when they compete in the inter-provincial championships.
NAAZ are hoping to have time to focus on ensuring they put in place the needed resources to send those, who would have qualified to Algeria, for the continental show-piece.
"The association is fully aware of the continental meet that is coming up hence we are holding our national championships as early as next week," said Phakamile.
"This is to ensure that we have time to run around, gather our resources and prepare all our teams."
Dickson Kamungeremu is among the athletes set to compete in Zambia.
He revealed it has been difficult to prepare for the event as they have had to meet all their expenses.
"Our preparation is very fine, the team is geared for the competition. There is only one challenge, financial problems, no one is assisting us.
"We are going to use the little we have, everyone is going to fund themselves for the trip, accommodation, transport and food, as well as the Covid test," said Kamungeremu.
He will take part in the 100m and 4x100m relay.