Athletics Zimbabwe president, Joseph Mungwari, is blaming Zimbabwe’s failure to bring back an athletics medal on the absence of Ngonidzashe Makusha who failed to make it to the Games.
After winning a silver medal at the World Championships, Makusha was supposed to fly to Mozambique for the All Africa Games but could not as he was also lined to take part in the Diamond League which was also running parallel to the All Africa Games.
Makusha, who went on to win a gold medal in the Diamond League was Zimbabwe biggest athletics medal hope at the All Africa Games and has already been picked for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London.
Mungwari says most of the continent’s athletics stars including those from Ethiopia and Kenya were missing from the All Africa Games preferring to take part in the money spinning World Championships and the Diamond League, something he says, is taking the attraction off the continental sports festival.
The World Championships are held during the first week of the All Africa Games while the Diamond League has a number of competitions during the same month.
Mungwari says they would prefer to have the Games held earlier when there are no major international events so that the excitement of old was restored to the All Africa Games.
Mungwari says they will present their case at the next meeting of the continental athletics board so that they forward this issue to the organisers of the All Africa Games for consideration.
The Zimbabwe athletics supremo says he is confident the issue will be considered as they have the support of many countries who have also failed to have their top athletes at the All Africa Games.
In the past the All Africa Games attracted its best athletes including the likes of Maria Mutola from Mozambique, Frankie Fredericks of Namibia, Haile Gerbesellasie of Ethiopia, but of late, athletics stars have been missing from the Games.
Current African athletics star, David Rudisha, the 800 metres world record holder was shinning at the World Championships and the Diamond League at the time the All Africa Games were in motion. This, says Mungwari, has to be stopped in order to restore glamour to the continental games.
Zimbabwe clinched 14 medals at the 2011 All Africa Games, five gold, eight silver, and a bronze medal, which is far much less than the seven gold, eight silver and the eight bronze medals they won at the last games in Algeria.