Cooke targets African Games

HARARE - Califonia-based Zimbabwean athlete, Keegan Cooke, continues to push hard for an African Games slot by breaking his personal best records each time he takes to the field to compete.

Zimbabwe’s lone decathlete bettered his previous best score of 5 005 points by clocking 5 127 points in a heptathlon meet recently.

Decathlon is a 10-event track and field athletics contest competed over two days. It comprises the 100m sprint, 400m and the 1500m run, hurdles, javelin, discus throws, shot put, pole vault, high jump and long lump.

The heptathlon on the other hand is made up of seven sporting disciplines that comprises a 60m sprint, long jump, shot put, and high jump on the first day.

The second day starts with the 110m hurdles then the pole vault and finishes with the 1000m run.

Cooke has made sure that the national athletics body is abreast with how he is performing by being in constant contact with the association’s president Silas Muringani.

“I sent the meet transcripts to Silas Muringani so that he could notify Naaz. I’ve been very grateful to be in contact with Muringani as he and Naaz have been a continued support in seeing me improve in the decathlon,” Cooke told the Daily News on Sunday from the US.

Cooke is hoping to be part of the national athletics team for the 11th edition of the African Games to be hosted by Congo in Brazzaville from September 4-9.

A projected total of 54 African countries including the Comoros, Sahrawi Republic and Sao Tome and Principe are expected to compete in the games.

The games will feature 22 separate sporting disciplines that have been announced and there will also be two additional disability sports- athletics and swimming.

“We have been doing well this side (US) and are excited to continue our preparations for the All-Africa Games in September,” he said.

“2015 got off to a good start here in California. Coach Josh and I were happy with the off-season training and planned out what the rest of the year would be like.

“In February, we went to Seattle Washington to open the season with a hurdle, long jump, 400m combination.

“It was a good start. The next competition we entered was the Sunshine Open in Santa Barbara; this was to be the first and only heptathlon of the season.

“Although it was named the sunshine open, it rained heavy for the entire second day. All the events went well and I finished with a total of 5 127 points over seven events. My previous best mark was 5 005 which I scored in Arkansas in 2013.”

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