ZIMBABWEAN athlete Paul Madzivire said he has overcome the heartbreak of failing to qualify for last year's Olympic Games in London and is now focused on the 2016 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The United States-based athlete's dream of being an Olympian as part of Zimbabwe's men's 4x100m relay team turned into a nightmare when the quartet failed to qualify for the Games.
Now a student at Florida State University, Madzivire had hoped to form a tandem with Brian Dzingai, Gabriel Mvumvure and Ngoni Makusha to earn a ticket to London.
But injuries to Makusha, Dzingai and Madzivire forced the relay team to make a premature withdrawal from the qualifying meetings ahead of the London Games.
"I had been hoping to take part in the London Games, but we failed to got through the qualifiers.
"It was a big disappointment because the Olympic Games come once in every four years.
"So I have put the setback behind and I'm hoping to qualify for the 2016 Games," said Madzivire.
The former Gateway High pupil is majoring in economics but has taken a sabbatical from the current semester.
"Right now I am back home and will continue with my training until I return to the Unites States in September.
"I am hoping to qualify for the World Championships and should also be taking part in local competitions," he said.
The 22-year-old sprinter and long jumper said he would continue to engage the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee as he works towards qualifying for Brazil.
"I am always in touch with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee because they would at one time help to fund my training if I qualify," he said.
Now that he has taken a break from his college, Madzivire is aware that he has to work extra hard to regain top form.
"There were issues to do with my visa and I could not go back early.
"The semester had already started and they do not allow someone to go midway through.
"So I have taken a break this semester.
"I know the challenges I will face here at home because the facilities in the United States are much better.
"Also I get a lot of training partners in the United States unlike here where the same training partners are the competitors," said Madzivire.
Last year, Madzivire won the long jump title at the Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championships.
"If I manage to stay healthy, I will become a professional athlete but if anything happens along the way, I will use my degree as a fallback," he said.