Vic Falls marathon organisers clear air

ORGANISERS of the Econet Victoria Falls marathon, held on Sunday, have cleared the air on the confusion surrounding the winner of the female half marathon after a runner named Brenda Makonyore had falsely claimed that she was the one who won the race.

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

Makonyore (21) claimed that she came first in the 21km race ahead of Bertha Chikanga, who was confirmed the winner of the competition.

The controversy came to light after Imagine Tombo posted on the organisers’ Facebook page complaining about the anomaly, where it was claimed that Makonyore had been “robbed” of the title.

“We have a grievance with the 21km results … Brenda Makonyore came first and was announced as such when she arrived but your award ceremony gave Bertha first place because you registered her under males category. The kid is 19 and pure talent! One would expect Econet to recognise talent and want to be the first to discover her! Did you know that was her first half marathon? Come on Econet … Justice for Brenda! Check your results under 21km males. Nobody names their son Brenda. She came to this event as a ward of well wishers … Make it right somehow,” Tombo posted.

The post went viral on all social media platforms, forcing the organisers to respond yesterday.

One of the time keepers, David Muller, said according to a video captured at the finishing line, Makonyore was nowhere in sight during the race.

Rather, he said a male athlete actually crossed the finish line holding a tag bearing Makonyore’s race number.

This is according to a statement posted on the organisers’ Facebook page yesterday.

“Only one athlete crossed the line when the time chip 3059 crossed the line and that is the male athlete in the screenshot attached,” Muller wrote.

“The female athlete that came to query the result and claiming to be the rightful winner appears nowhere in the section of the video I reviewed (at the finish line). Considering the above, we stand by our decision to remove the competitor from the female results of the 21km event.”

Principal sponsor of the marathon, Econet said it was saddened by the apparent attempt to cheat by some athletes.
This year’s edition of the race attracted a record 4 000 runners from Zimbabwe and from across the
world.

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