President of the National Athletics of Zimbabwe
(NAAZ) Joseph Mungwari has praised Twalumba Foundation for their dedication towards the development of the sport in Matabeleland North.
Mungwari was speaking after the Kujatana Nkubotu Peace Half Marathon in Binga on Saturday.
It was the first time that NAAZ, who trained and provided the match officials attended the race, which in all fairness was largely a success save for a few technical hiccups caused by the big numbers that were not expected to flock to Binga.
“We are very excited. It is very difficult to penetrate here. The terrain is not friendly. There are so many athletes than we expected. We expected to have just a hundred but look we have thousands and we have our international athletes here.
“The race has been oversubscribed. No one expected this number but there is nothing that will stop the race. I would like to pay tribute to the sponsor for this big effort of developing the sport in Matabeleland North,” Mungwari said.
In the marathon, long distance runner Kudakwashe Shoko endured the scorching Binga heat to come out first.
The veteran marathoner, who left Binga R10 500 richer, came out first in a time of 1:0:05 to beat close contender Wirimai Zhuwao, who clocked 1:04:41 and picked up a R5 000 cheque.
Another veteran Lewis Masunda, who for a while led the pack before losing it after doing 15km came third in 1:05:32 and was rewarded with a R2 000 cheque and behind him was Ngonidzashe Ncube 1:05 and Masvingo’s Jonathan Chinyoka 1:07:04 and they got R1 000 and R500 respectively.
It was a tightly contested race which started off with 10 men seemingly going for the top spot but was Masunda, Shoko and Zhuwao who pulled away from the rest of the pack to cross the finishing line.
Unheralded Zimbabwean long distance runner Collen Makaza, who recently brought gold from Ireland tripped and fell at the starting point and could not continue with the race.
In the senior women’s category the same fat cheque of R10 500 went to Netherlands based Sharon Tawengwa who outpaced the rest of the ladies from the starting point to clock 1:17:12 followed by Rutendo Nyawora (1:19:65).
Tabitha Tsatsa, who was also a favourite to win the race, came third in 1:24:25 while Chiedza, Chokore was fourth position in 1:28:41 and Olivia Chitate came out fifth in 1:30:13.
Nyarowa, Tsatsa, Chokore, and Chitate also walked away with the same amounts as the male athletes.
The race, which was scheduled to start early began after 9am when the sun was up as the athletes had to wait for the guest of honour Local Government Minister.
Besides Chombo, former Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu, Premier League side Gunners owner Cuthbert Chitima, Mungwari, sponsor and owner of the Twalumba Foundation, Nkululeko Sibanda, his wife Miriam, were also at the race.