Hard work pays off: Nyasango

HARARE - If things had gone to plan for Cuthbert Nyasango, the Rio Olympic Games might have witnessed the rivalry of a husband and wife.

It would have been a rare treat to have a couple represent Zimbabwe at the quadrennial global sporting extravaganza.

Cuthbert and his wife Faith have maintained a constant presence on the winners’ podium and they had hoped to take their Cinderella streak to Brazil but were haunted by the age-old African problem of resource constraints.

With her husband already having attained standard qualification time for Rio, Faith thought she would finally have her chance in the sun at a qualifying meet in Spain back in April.

“She was ready for it but when she failed to travel, it was difficult,” the duo’s coach Benson Chauke told the Daily News.

“It became too heavy for the family, for them to bear the burden of the expense of air tickets, accommodation, food and all that. But she is a seasoned athlete and she has not lost hope.”

The Nyasango dynasty’s firm grip on Zimbabwe’s long-distance running seems not in danger of ending anytime soon, if also the emergence of Cuthbert’s supremely talented sister, Constance, is anything to go by.

At just 24 years old, Constance has refused to be left out, and she continues to raise the Nyasango clan flag with increasing frequency.

Naturally, Cuthbert attributes the success enjoyed by his family on the long distance scene to plain hard work.

“We have talents that we were given by God but our success has been down to working hard and maintaining a disciplined approach to athletics,” said Cuthbert.

“My wife and sister are very hard working and professional.

“I am very proud of them. They deserve all the success that has come their way.

“As a family we have had to make sacrifices for us to enjoy success on the track. Sometimes it has worked but even when it hasn’t we have drawn good lessons from it.”

The Nyanga-born long-distance runner rose to prominence when he set a new 5 000m Zimbabwe record with a time of 14:02:02 in 2001, the same year he went on to win the Junior Athlete of the Year award.

In 2007, he set a new Zimbabwe 10 000m record after clocking 27:57:54, the same year he broke the national 21 kilometres record following his 60:26 ran in Spain.

He then finished seventh at the London Summer Games in the British capital.

But behind his success stands Chauke, an unheralded coach who has watched over Cuthbert’s steps to stardom.

Chauke himself did not have an illustrious athletics career during his heyday.

However, his coaching career has been instrumental in shaping the lives of countless Zimbabwean athletes including the Nyasangos.

While Cuthbert competed in the London Olympics, Chauke had to watch the action via satellite television.

“Like anyone else, I would have loved to have gone with the team to the Olympics but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been given a chance to represent the country.

“I think this is my third Olympics in which I have assisted in the team’s preparations so I’m content,” Chauke told the Daily News before the London Olympics.

However, his dream of being part of the Olympic movement will come into reality as he will be barking instructions from the terraces when Cuthbert, Wirimai Juwawo and Pardon Ndlovu race on August 21 in Rio.

“When you are preparing for big races it’s hard to predict how you will do,” he said.

“But we are doing the best we can. We are quite happy with our preparations and our times. Last time out, God did wonders for us, we placed seventh (Cuthbert) and 15th (Juwawo) and I am grateful we have another opportunity.

“As a coach you prepare to win, a best result, a top 10 finish. Our athletes know what it takes, they know representing the country, the aspirations the expectations of the nation. It’s going to be tough and it will by anyone’s competition.

“We have the honour of competing in the last event of the Olympics.

“We just have to give it our best.”

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.