BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
ZIMBABWE’S sprinter star Ngoni Makusha is optimistic of qualifying to the first round of the men’s 100-metre race after he got a favourable draw in the heats which are on this morning.
Makusha was placed in heat 1 of the preliminary round, where he has got the best record and ranking compared to his rivals.
The top three finishers will qualify to the next stage, which will also be held today.
Makusha is targeting to better his personal best time of 10,17 seconds and knows that if he can achieve that, he gives himself a better chance of progressing.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport, Makusha said he was confident that he would achieve his goal following good preparations in Japan.
“The preparations have been going well, I did a few training sessions here and it’s all going good. What’s left now is just to execute come race day,” he said.
The sprinter also said that the Olympics would help him improve his career as he was gaining more experience and exposure.
“I am expecting to better my time and going through to the next round. Being at the Olympics is really huge for my career as I got the recognition that I needed and it is giving me experience also,” he added.
Makusha is competing in the 100-metre race only and knows there is no second chance if he blows this opportunity.
Head of the Zimbabwe delegation in Japan, Frederick Ndlovu, expressed hope in the team, adding that the country’s delegation had a group of youngsters who were set to benefit from the Olympic Games ahead of the same event in Paris, France, in 2024.
In his heat, Makusha stands a good chance of winning the race as he has the personal best time of 10,17 and season best time of 10,26, which is way ahead of Maldivian athlete Saaid Hassan, whose personal best time is 10,33.
Zimbabwe has Makusha and golfer Scott Vincent still competing at the Games.
The swimming duo of Donata Katai and Peter Wetzlar, who managed to set their personal best times in the 100-metre women’s backstroke and 100-metre men’s freestyle events respectively, have since been eliminated.
Katai has since returned home, while Wetzlar has also returned to his base in the United States.
Rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin came fourth in the semi-final C/D on Thursday and proceeded to the final D yesterday, where he finished on position 20 out of 30.
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