HomeSportAthleticsMakusha voted athlete of the year

Makusha voted athlete of the year

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Top United States-based Zimbabwean long jumper and sprinter Ngonidzashe Makusha was on Thursday named the athlete of the year by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association.

The prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I National men’s Athletes of the Year for outdoor track and field are voted by the top track and field coaches in the US.

The esteemed accolade came barely 24 hours after Makusha, who has set the athletics scene alight this year with his lightning speed in both track and field events, announced his decision to forgo his senior season with Florida State University and compete professionally.

With Thursday’s announcement, he becomes the second Florida State University student-athlete to claim the now six-year-old award after American sprinter Walter Dix earned the title in 2007.

“This is a tremendous honour for Ngoni,” said Florida State University head coach Bob Braman, whose men’s team finished as the national runner-up by just one point this season.

“He adds his name to a list of collegiate athletes that include Olympic medallists. Interestingly there have only been three schools represented in the six years of the award; two each for Florida State, Oregon and Louisiana State University.”

Makusha, who won three NCAA crowns last week, was honoured together with American Will Claye who, is among the world’s top five in both the long and triple jumps.

During the NCAA Championships, Makusha added his name among an exclusive list of athletes like Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis by becoming only the fourth man in NCAA Division I history, and the first since 1981, to win national titles in the 100 metres and long jump in the same championships.

He won the national 100-metre crown in a collegiate — and championships-record of 9,89secs, topping the 1996 record of University of California (Los Angeles)’s Ato Boldon (9,92secs).

His winning time is also a new national 100 metres record in Zimbabwe, ranks No. 4 in the world for the 2011 season for the only Zimbabwean to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres.

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