Chigagada reigns at ZITF

HARARE - Black Rhinos athlete Simbarashe Chigagada lived up to his pre –race billing when he came first in the Coca Cola ZITF four minute mile here yesterday.

Chigagada had the best qualifying time of 4:15:06 and managed to shave off 5 seconds in his race winning time of 4:10:10.

The 27-year-old athlete beat Harare Athletics Club’s Elijah Mabhunu at the finish line after Mabhunu had led from the second lap.

Mabhunu came into the race with the second best qualifying time of4:15:43 and yesterday he finished on 4:10:51.

After the race Mabhunu said he had slowed down when he was about to cross the finishing line because he thought he was unchallenged.

“I thought there was a big gap between myself and the other athletes so I slowed down when I neared the finish line and was taken by surprise when he (Chigagada) sneaked in ahead to finish first,” Mabhunu said.

This was Chigagada’s first time to take part in the Delta Beverages sponsored race and the Black Rhinos athlete vowed to win the race in under four minutes next year.

“This was a learning process for me and now that I have familiarised myself with the race I am certain that I will win it in less than four minutes next year,” Chigagada said.

Edgar Mavhera of the then Bulawayo Bottlers was the last runner to win the race in under four minutes way back in 1995.

Chigagada pocketed $800 for winning the race while Mabhunu walked away with $500 and third placed Jonathan Chinyoka took home $400.

Bulawayo Athletics Board secretary Dailes Bingadadi described the race as a resounding success.

“The race was a big success because it had a national outlook after we took the qualifiers to various towns and cities and even the times improved a lot this year,” Bingadadi said.

Only 29 of the 30 athletes who qualified for the race managed to take part after Freda Rebecca Mine athlete George Majaji did not turn after his mother was hospitalised. - Sakheleni Nxumalo

Results: 1.Simbarashe Chigagada 4:10:10 (Black Rhinos), Elijah Mabhunu 4:10:51(Harare Athletic Club), Jonathan Chinyoka 4:13:66 (Zimbabwe PrisonServices), Wellington Varevi 4:14:16 (Blanket Mine), Tawanda Matunhu4:14:61 (Blanket Mine).

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