ZIMBABWE’S three-time Comrades Marathon winner, Stephen Muzhingi believes local athletics is set for major revival, following the entry of JM Busha 54 Races to sponsor local marathon races, as well as track and field competitions in the country. BY SPORTS REPORTER
JM Busha 54 Races is a non-profit organisation involved in social investment programmes aimed at promoting sport, education and peace it recently signed a four-year partnership worth around $300 000 annually with the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe.
The partnership will see JM Busha 54 Races sponsoring marathon races as well as a three-legged track and field triangular series, which got underway at the National Sports Stadium’s B arena on Sunday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the track and field meet, Muzhingi, who is making a comeback after an injury lay off last year, said sponsorship was the lifeblood of local athletics.
“I’m really excited with the coming in of JM Busha 54 Races to sponsor local athletics, because local athletes have been starved of competition because of lack of sponsorship,” he said.
“That is why most of our top athletes — me included — have been relocating to South Africa because we simply couldn’t make a living out of the sport, while staying here, but I believe now that will be a thing of the past and this will go a long way in developing the sport in the country.”
The opening leg of the JM Busha track and field triangular series got off to a successful start, with over 400 local athletes drawn from around the country showcasing their skills in the capital.
The second leg of the competition will be held at Bulawayo’s White City Stadium on March 11.
The best 16 athletes in each of the 15 different categories, which include javelin, shot putt, discuss, high jump, triple jump, long jump, 100m, 200m, 800m, 1 500m, 3 000m, 5 000m, 4×400m and 4×100m relays will qualify for the final leg at the National Sports Stadium on May 25.