WHILE some African athletes are scooping medals at the 12th International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World championships in Berlin, Germany, Zimbabweâ€™s representatives have failed dismally, raising questions over the countryâ€™s capability to compete at this level.
Of the six Zimbabweans athletes who participated at the games â€” the worldâ€™s third biggest sporting event after the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games â€” four have already tumbled out of the competition at the first hurdle.
Brian Dzingai, the countryâ€™s best sprinter had raised the countryâ€™s hopes of at least making the finals when he squeezed into the menâ€™s 200m quarterfinals at the Berlin Stadium on Tuesday morning by cruising into third position with a promising finishing time of 20,97sec.
But the sprinterâ€™s quest for a maiden medal at such a grand stage ended embarrassingly when he tumbled out of the quarterfinals later that Tuesday evening.
Talkmore Nyongani, Gabriel Mvumvure and Tamla Peterson also performed badly.
Nyongani competed in his specialised 400m, but finished a disappointing fifth position with a time of 45,92sec in a race which was won by Britainâ€™s Robert Tobin, who clocked 45,50sec.
Mvumvure also took to the track the same day, running in one of the menâ€™s 200m qualifying rounds but just like his countrymen, he disappointingly finished last with a time of 22,67sec.
Eaglesvale High schoolgirl Peterson, who was making her debut appearance on the big stage, also failed the test when she finished last in one of the heats of the womenâ€™s 100m hurdles qualifying rounds.
The countryâ€™s hopes of getting a medal at the IAAF are now pinned on the shoulders of US-based long jumper Ngoni Makusha, who entered the field last night in the qualification rounds, while George Mujaji will tomorrow run in the menâ€™s marathon race.
Makusha narrowly missed an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing last August. He is also the current World Universities champion with a leap of 8,30m.