Top Zimbabwe Olympic athlete Brian Dzingai has turned his back on his country as he will now represent the rich Gulf state Bahrain. Dzingai, a Harare born athelete has full blessing of the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe which says this “was within his rights”.
Dzingai made the application last month. “The Association’s management executive committee at a meeting dated 19 February 2009 has accepted your application in terms of rule 5(c) chapter 1 under International competitions which is copied hereunder for ease of reference,” further reads the NAAZ clearance letter, which was copied to the secretary-general of IAAF, the secretary-general of the Bahrain Athletics Association and the secretary-general of the AAC.
However Dzingai can only represent Bahrain in a year’s time according to the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) “stand down procedures”. Joseph Mungwari NAAZ president said: “He (Dzingai) applied to us requesting to change citizenship. It is in order. It is within his rights’’.
Dzingai represented Zimbabwe at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The United States based athlete, went to the US on an athletics scholarship and specialises in the 200 metres. His personal best time is 20.12 seconds, a running Zimbabwe national record, achieved in June 2004.
He finished sixth at the 2006 African Championships and won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay at the 2007 All Africa Games. He also competed at the 2003 World Championships, the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2005 World Championships without reaching the final round.
Kenya has in the past suffered the same fate as Zimbabwe. Most of their top athletes were lured to Qatar and Bahrain for financial gain leading to President Mwai Kibaki to intervene.