Zimbabwean athletes who have over the years been starved of sponsorship leading to the likes of Stephen Muzhingi shifting base to South Africa, have something to smile following the successful hosting of JM Busha 54 Races athletics competition in Harare on Sunday.
By Munashe Chokodza
The competition which will see 16 finalists from the 16 disciplines proceed to Bulawayo for the second leg has breathed a new lease of life to Zimbabwean athletes and could be what the country needs in preparation for the 2020 Olympics.
In an interview with 263Chat, President of the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) Tafara Tagara said the association appreciates the coming on board of JM Busha to sponsor athletics development in the country.
“On this deal JM Busha 54 Race signed a $300 000 annual sponsorship deal with the National Athletic Association of Zimbabwe. Their main event is the one which is going to be done on the 25 of May. “
“This sponsor has also managed to host the first athletic event in Harare which has attracted a number of athletes from the Mashonaland side and other academies around town.”
Tagara said the Harare event will see 16 athletes from each discipline going to compete on the 25 May in Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe’s decorated athlete and comrades marathon winner, Stephen Muzhingi who is now based in South Africa graced the event which he said was good for local athletes as they had for years struggled to survive.
“JM Busha should be commended for sponsoring athletics as very few companies have been eager to invest in athletics development.
“In the past sponsors have been shunning long distances athletics in favor of short distance ones which was a sad thing for the sport considering the talent we have in the country,” said Muzhingi.