Nyongani's Rio 2016 dream

HARARE - Two-time Zimbabwe Olympian sprinter Young Talkmore Nyongani is eager to use next year’s Rio Olympics to make a grand exit from his glittering career but it may remain a dream due to lack of preparatory funds.

Nyongani last scaled dizzy heights at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany where he finished 26th.

The Millennium Athletics Academy product, who holds a personal best time of 44,96 seconds over 400m achieved in March 2005 in Pretoria, has been quietly resurrecting his career in South Africa.

The fleet-footed 33-year-old athlete, who trained with incarcerated blade runner Oscar Pistorius in the build up to the 2012 London Olympics quest, now hopes to lace his spikes among the finest 400m runners in Brazil next year.

“I have started looking for the funds for my training for Rio but it hasn’t been easy,” Nyongani told the Daily News from his base in South Africa.

“I need a lot of help to realise my dream and be part of the Olympics. It seems there is a reluctance to support the older athletes but I will try even to write to the first lady (Grace Mugabe) for help.

“It’s painful that Zim athletics is not where it used to be. Imagine our athletics team failed to win a single medal at the African Games in Congo. I used to bring medals from the African Games and I still have that potential.”

The Zimbabwe junior 400m record holder says he has made a lot of sacrifices for the country and it was time he received something in return.

“For 12 years, I captained Zim athletics team at the highest level and I even paid my own tickets to be part of the Zim team,” he said.

“If I can get any companies who can hear my story and help me I will do my best. Oscar Pistorius’ management we will always help me with races in Europe and coaching staff here in Pretoria.

“There are a few athletes in the country with my heart and fighting spirit. I just wish the country we will give back to their sporting heroes. I worked hard putting Zim athletics on the world map. My training partners call me Mugabe because I always put my country first.”

Nyongani needs to attain an A standard of the Olympic qualifying time of 45.50seconds if he hopes to make the grade for Brazil.

“Once I get funds, I can even do it on my first races here in Pretoria before I get to Europe,” he said.

“I have no doubt with funds in place I won’t fail to qualify.”

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