11 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Makusha Eyes Olympics

Following his second appearance at the African Senior Athletics Championships recently in Nigeria, Zimbabwe's promising sprinter Ngoni Makusha believes the sky is the limit for him with his eyes now set on the Olympic Games.

Not only is he dreaming of making the cut for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, he wants to be Zimbabwe's first track athlete to get a podium finish at the Games.

The Successful Strides Sports Academy sprinter was part of the nine-member team that represented the country at the 21st edition of the African Senior Championships that took place in Asaba, Nigeria a few days ago.

Makusha finished sixth overall in the 100m event.

He was part of the 4x100m relay team that came fourth in the final and concluded his participation at the meet with the 200m event where he made the semi-finals.

"As an athlete, my goal is to make it to the Olympics and definitely make the podium finish, which will be a great achievement since there is no sprinter from Zimbabwe who has been on the podium at the Olympics.

"I want to be the first to do that, that's my goal. That's what I am building on right now. I am just building towards that.

"I know I am improving, I am feeling confident, I am feeling good and I know I will do something big," said Makusha.

Interestingly, the 24-year-old sprinter shares the same name and surname with Olympian Ngoni Makusha, who missed a bronze medal in the long jump event by a whisker at the 2008 Olympics.

The young Makusha says it has been a challenge as he is often mistaken for the Olympian, but noted that it has been a motivation for him.

"It's been a big problem because most of the people think that I am the other Ngoni Makusha, the Zimbabwean record holder. But right now people are starting to get the situation now. They know that I am my own person really.

"But it kind of inspires me to perform because people when they see me they think I am the other Ngoni Makusha, who runs sub-10. So it's kind of like a motivation for me to do well. Growing up, I was watching Brian Dzingai, Ngoni Makusha, Gabriel Mvumvure and Keegan Cooke. These guys have done it, they have been at the World Championships, they have been at the Olympics.

"They have reached where I want to be, so I am kind of inspired that I can do it also," said Makusha.

Makusha, a humble but confident rising star is one of the beneficiaries of the Olympic athletes scholarships from the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee to enhance their preparations and qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

"It has never been easy for me like back at home as an athlete, there are some certain things that you need . . . And I don't really have sponsors so it's kind of expensive for me. The support in Zimbabwe is not that good.

"So you really have to find something for yourself, like if I want to travel to a competition in South Africa or Europe I have to find my own funds.

"But I have received the Olympic grant recently which is like a huge boost for me now, so it's been really helpful," Makusha said.

Away from the challenges that comes with one pursuing their dreams, Makusha is content with the progress he has been making in the last few years. He has been working closely with coach David Tinago to push for his dream to come true.

Tinago said Makusha's performance at the African Championships is a good indicator and means a lot for their targeted goals between now and 2020.


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