United States-based Zimbabwean track and field star Ngonidzashe Makusha is expected to come home next week for the first time since winning a bronze medal at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea in September.
The 24-year-old multi-talented athlete is national record holder in both the long jump and the 100m events and his bronze medal in Daegu was Zimbabwe’s first-ever medal in their history in the global track and field competition.
The Mandedza Express, as Makusha is affectionately referred to because of his exploits on the track, is expected to be the guest of honour when the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) launches the “Going for Gold” campaign.
The programme, which will involve events and programmes to raise awareness and resources for Team Zimbabwe for the games, will get underway with a fundraising dinner at Meikles Hotel next Saturday.
ZOC chief executive Anna Mguni confirmed this in an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday.
“We are 260 days away from the Games of the 30th Olympiad to be held in London 2012.
For Zimbabwe to be guaranteed medals at the London Olympic Games in 2012, we need to invest in adequate preparation of the team.
“This is why we will be hosting the first of our ‘Going for Gold’ events, a fundraising dinner on Saturday, November 19, at Meikles Hotel.
“Our special guest will be Olympian and 2011 Bowerman Award finalist Ngonidzashe Makusha.
Ngoni has already qualified for London 2012 in long jump and is still pursuing a 100m sprint qualification,” said Mguni.
Mguni added that Makusha, who generously donated his kit from his bronze medal-winning appearance at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu to be put up for auction, is also expected to give a motivational address regarding his exploits thus far.
The seasoned sports administrator who became the first woman to serve as the committee’s chief executive officer, said her association hoped to raise $100 000 from individual and corporate pledges at the fundraising event.
Besides Makusha, the other athletes who have so far qualified for the London Olympic Games include seven-time Olympic medallist Kirsty Coventry and Cuthbert Nyasango.
Coventry met the qualifying times in two swimming events — the women’s 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley at an Olympic qualifying event, the Mari Lenk Swimming Trophy in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil in May.
Nyasango has qualified for the men’s marathon with B standard time.