Rio 2016: Sprinter Makusha hopeful of qualification

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Ngoni Makusha

Zimbabwean sprinter and long jumper, Ngonidzashe Makusha, who missed an Olympic medal by a whisker at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games before being injured less than two months ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, will be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky at next year’s Rio Olympics.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The 28-year-old United States-based star, who is aiming to qualify for next year’s Olympics, will be the Zimbabwe’s brightest prospect of winning a first-ever track and field medal at the global showcase since 1980.

In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday from his base in the US, Makusha said he was working hard to get back to his best after another injury setback, which saw him missing the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship and the recent Africa Games in August.

“I’m hopeful of qualifying for the Rio Olympics and I’m working very hard to get back to my very competitive shape, and God willing I’m sure I will get it done,” he said.

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“I couldn’t participate at the last IAAF World Championships in Beijing and the All-Africa Games in Congo because I was recovering from a procedure I had done on my leg. At the end of 2014, I had to go to Philadelphia to see one of the sports injury specialists who recommended the repair to be done. So when the season started, I thought I would be ready to compete at the highest level possible, but I fell a little short.”

“The good thing now is I’m back to normal and working hard to get in shape and get ready for next season. I will start with some local competitions in the US indoor season unless something changes and my agent wants me to change the plan. As of now, I plan on starting slow and letting my body normalise,” he said.

A former winner of the prestigious Bowerman Award, which is awarded to the top collegiate track and field athlete of the year in the US, Makusha holds the Zimbabwean national records for both the 100m (9,89 seconds) and the long jump (8,40m).

Both performances were achieved during the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Championships in Des Moines, Iowa where he completed the 100m and long jump double.