Twenty-six Zimbabwean athletes left the country on Wednesday for the Southern African Christian Schools’ Sports Association (Sacssa) meet to be held in Sasolburg, South Africa on Friday and Saturday.
Sport under the Christian schools started to become more prominent and structured, as from 1991, when principals reportedly realised that one of the first questions often asked by prospective parents was: What do you offer in terms of sport and which organisation do you belong to?
Up to that point, the answer was always a bit vague and principals tried to avoid the question.
Almost simultaneously, in 1991 /92 a group of schools in Transvaal, under ACS (The Association of Christian Schools) and ACE in Natal, started to put structures in place to offer sport on a more organised basis.
Immediately the standard of sport picked up.
Team Zimbabwe will have six Bulawayo-based athletes who belong to Bulawayo-based House Of Champs (HOC) athletics club. The six boys and girls were under the mentorship of City of Kings and Queens fitness trainer Presley Mabhena.
HOC Zimbabwe will have current national Under-16 champion in 100m and 200m, Amanda Msongelwa (15), reigning Under 20 long and triple jump national champion Ryan Dube (17) and Zinzile Gumpo (18) a national record holder in hurdles.
Another athlete who made the trip to South Africa from HOC’s stable, was Mthabisi Msongelwa (8) a 60m and 80m sprinter, Lulama Ndlovu (13) who will compete in the high jump and long jump contests and Titus Chikonye Jnr (14) a 100m and 200m sprinter.
“I wish every athlete in our team well. The Bulawayo-based athletes were working so hard and it was a pleasure to work with them and I believe everyone in the team will raise the country’s flag high,” said Mabhena.
Meanwhile, last Saturday HOC successfully held a track and field event at White City Stadium.
The event provided National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) and Bulawayo Athletics Board (Bab) team selectors a rare opportunity to identify talent ahead of the AUSC Region 5 Games that will be held in Malawi in December.
A total of 150 participants competed in different competitions that featured cadets (Under 14s), youths (Under 18), juniors (Under 20) and seniors (above 20). It was an off season meet that featured individuals, clubs, schools, colleges and universities as they also prepared for the peak period of the athletics season which starts in January.