'Runners need to plan properly'

MUTARE - Zimbabwean athletes need to select carefully the races they take part in order to produce stellar performances a senior Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) official has said.

SRC Manicaland provincial Coordinator Shupikai Berejena was speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Tanganda Tea Company Half-Marathon.

“Athletes should not just compete anyhow as is the case with most athletes who often produce average performances throughout their careers by not wanting to miss out on any competition they hear of,” he said.

Berejena said athletes who excel in races of choice also had a greater chance of securing sponsorships and prolonging their careers.

He, however, said he expected a strong challenge to break the event’s records set in 2012 by Olympian Wirimayi Zhuwao and Sharon Tavengwa after the Tanganda Tea Company promised a reward.

Zhuwawo set the record with a time of 1:02:43 while Tavengwa remains the fastest woman so far in with a time of 1:18:07.

“We expect a strong challenge to break the record after the main sponsors introduced a reward for any record breakers and every athlete is practising with that in mind,” he said.

Veteran campaigners Lionel Muchena, Rutendo Nyahora and Millian Matende are part of a contingent of top athletes who have confirmed their participation in the marathon.

In 2013, unheralded Jonathan Chinyoka and South Africa-based athlete Rutendo Nyahora won but failed to beat the records after posting 1:06:51 and 1:18:43 respectively.

The records remained intact again last year after Masvingo-based athlete Elijah Mabhunu won the 21km race in 1:06:34, while Constance Nyasango hit the ribbon in 1:18:26.

Berejena’s views perfectly dovetail Manicaland Athletics Board (MAB) chairperson Joshua Matume’s opinion that greed and impatience is destroying the careers of many young gifted long distance athletes.

“An athlete should ideally only participate in three marathons in a year while we do not encourage athletes under 20 years to run more than 10km,” Matume, an athletics coach says.

Matume, however, blamed poor sponsorship in local races which was driving many talented young athletes to shuttle between races in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“Sprinters have better leeway than long distance runners who need more time to recoup,” Matume told the Daily News.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.