Bright future but…

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Rising star David Tinago, the young 400 and 200 metre sprinter is Zimbabwe’s hopeful to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.

As a little known 17-year old school boy in 2005, Tinago shocked the region when he broke the Southern region youth record in the 400 metres race in Pretoria, South Africa.

This earned him the junior sportsman of the year award for that year for his sterling effort.

Since graduating to the senior level in 2007, the 23 year old Tinago has set impressive times and his personal best for the 400m is 46,87 seconds, while for the 200m its 21,34.

The current national records for the two events stand at 44,58 seconds for the 400m which was set by Lewis Banda in 2004, while Brian Dzingayi set the fastest in the 200 metres in only 20,18.

However, Tinago the Budiriro-based speedster has been failing to participate in some international athletics events due to lack of sponsorship in local athletics.

In an interview with NewsDay this week, the former Prince Edward High School student spoke about his struggle to keep himself fit despite the lack of competitive athletics tournaments in the country.

“There’s no sponsorship in local athletics and races rarely come around. I have had to use the internet to track some of the international races to compete in since I’m not running for any club at the moment,”said Tinago.

“I hope some sponsors will come to my aid. At the moment, my parents, who have been very supportive, have helped me to take part in some of the races.

“I believe I can match any athlete in the world and my goal is to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics,”said Tinago, whose inspiration is the legendary Michael Johnson.

He was fortunate enough to travel to the United States for the Penn Relays in 2008 where he rubbed shoulders with some of the best sprinters in the world, among them his idol Michael Johnson.

He also managed to run alongside other 400 metre luminaries like the United States duo of Jeremy Wariner and the current fastest athlete for that distance, Le Shawn Merritt.

Tinago has now set his sights on qualifying for the African Championships which will roll into life in Kenya, Nairobi from July 28 to August 1 this year as well as the All-Africa Games in Maputo next year.