THE country’s rising middle distance runner Enlitha Ncube says experience is a key factor for her to take away from next week’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, as she prepares for even bigger challenges to come.
Ncube is part of the 17-member Team Zimbabwe squad which will head out to the Asian country on Monday evening for the second ever Youth Olympic Games which starts on Tuesday and run for 12 days.
Team Zimbabwe is comprised of 10 aspiring young athletes, who will compete across five sporting disciplines, which are athletics, aquatics, equestrian, triathlon and rowing.
They were hosted by deputy minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Tabeth Kanegoni Malinga at a send-off ceremony in Harare yesterday.
A student at Msilahobe Secondary School in Silobela, the 16-year old caught the headlines when winning a gold medal in the 1 500metres race in 4,09seconds at the Confederations of Schools Sports Association of Southern Africa athletics championships in Botswana early this year.
Since then, she has continued to flourish and was part of Team Zimbabwe at the just ended World Junior Championships held in the United States.
She didn’t particularly do well in Eugene, but she is not too worried about it.
Her ultimate goal is to win a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I don’t really expect to win a medal in China. I’m taking these games as a learning curve and if i manage to win, it will be a bonus,” the shy-looking Ncube told NewsDay Sport after the send-off ceremony.
“I want to gain as much as possible out of the experience. I had a terrible experience at the World Junior Championships because I was the only one in our race who had no running spikes and that affected me.
“The race was tough and I did not do as I had wanted, but I will not despair,” added Ncube, who revealed that she might enter the tracks in Nanjing barefooted again if she does not get a sponsor between now and Monday when the team flies out.
“It was a little embarrassing [running without spikes], but what can I do? I’m actually looking forward to the race and hoping that my performances will attract sponsors in the future,” Ncube said.
“What I need at the moment is good performance, to improve my time but more importantly experience so that I can do well at the next big competitions like the next Olympics (2016 Rio Olympics). I’m aiming to win a medal at that competition.”
She along with her compatriots will join other approximately 3 800 young athletes from all over the world who have qualified or received invitation to participate at the 2nd Edition of the Games.
The games incorporate multidisciplinary sport with education and culture, as a means of bringing together young people from all over the world to participate in elite events that teach positive values, reignite interest in physical activity, and build respect and friendship.
Zimbabwe participated at the inaugural games held in Singapore in 2010, where 27 athletes took part in 5 events. Yara Hanssen won a Bronze medal in equestrian.
Team Zimbabwe — Nanjing Youth Olympics:
Chef de Mission: Titus Zvomuya
Olympic Games Young ambassador: Rukudzo Gona.
Swimming: Robyn Lee, Chad Idensohn, Lorna Riley (official)
Athletics: Enlitha Ncube, Mary Mudyiravanji, Titus Nyathi, Briad Nhubu (official)
Equestrian: Sophie Teede, Charlie Crockart (offical)
Triathlon: Serena Rendell, Drew Williams, Pamela Fulton (official)
Rowing: Daniella du Toit, Kyle Hinde, Joanne Swanepoel (official)