BY FORTUNE MBELE
BLACK Rhinos Athletics Club’s long distance runner Andrew Chimbidzikai says despite a nagging knee injury that has troubled him for three weeks, he is targeting the podium in the upcoming 2019 Econet Victoria Falls 42,2km marathon slated for July 7.
Chimbidzikai, the two-time winner of the race, the PPC Matopos 33-miler ultra-marathon, last ran in Victoria Falls in 2015 to finish in position 12 and returns this year and could be one of the runners who could wrestle the title from six-time winner Nkosiyazi Sibanda of Blanket Mine Athletics Club.
However, yesterday he said although he has been preparing for the Victoria Falls race, he developed a knee injury but he is certain he will make it into the top three despite the setback.
“I was targeting to win the Econet Vic Falls race this year, but three weeks ago I just developed a knee injury and I think it must be due to the cold weather. But I have been training for the last month and despite the injury I am
certain to make it for the podium in the top three,” Chimbidzikai said.
Yesterday morning he trained at Morris Depot under the watch of his coach Shepard Moyo, who also believes a podium finish is a realistic target for his runner.
“We are preparing to go to Victoria Falls and have been trying to perfect everything and it looks good. According to my analysis, a top three finish is achievable. We are aiming for the podium,” Moyo said.
Chimbidzikai’s last major race was the PPC Matopos ultra-marathon, which he won in April after also winning it last year.
Sibanda, who has dominated the Econet Victoria Falls marathon, winning it six times, came second in the PPC Matopos race.
Sibanda last year crossed the finishing line to win the Econet Victoria Falls marathon in 2:21:08 followed by Zambian Mathews Mutanya, who clocked 2:21:51, while Lyno Muchena came third in 2:22:28.
The open women’s title was clinched by Olivia Chitate, who romped home in 2:58:35, with veteran runner Tabitha Tsatsa on second position in 3:01:48 and Rutendo Mapindu on the third spot in 3:04:27.
Meanwhile, online registration for this year’s race was extended to June 24 from last Friday.