Zimbabwe: Nyahora Eyes 2020 Olympics

5 December 2019

Zimbabwe's top female long-distance runner, Rutendo Nyahora, is a woman on a mission.

Her mind is set on returning to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, next year.

Nyahora made her maiden appearance at the Summer Games in 2016 and does not want to miss out on the 2020 Olympic Games despite the tough qualification standards.

The qualifying time for women's marathon has been set at 2hours 29minutes 30seconds.

In 2016 it was 2hours 45minutes.

The men's time moved from 2hours 19minutes to 2hours 11minutes 30seconds.

Speaking from her base in South Africa, Nyahora said she was not taking a break for the festive season holidays. And she is confident she will make the grade for Tokyo 2020.

"Checking my previous time, I managed to beat my personal best with five minutes, from 2:39 to 2:34," she said.

"Now, I am working more on building up for Tokyo. It's something I never used to do before, I used to rest in December.

"Everyone wants to go to Tokyo, so the pressure is too much, what I only need to do is to stay focused and not to put myself under any pressure."

The seasoned long-distance runner was part of the team that represented the country at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, two months ago. She is currently working with Sibusiso Nzima, who is also her fiancé, and says she just needs to go an extra mile to make sure she is in a position to achieve her goal.

"I am busy with the build-up for next year's marathon. I haven't decided yet which marathon I am going to attempt," she said.

"But, I do believe in myself and I know I will make it to Tokyo next year.

"I am training with my fiancé, Sibusiso Nzima. He is a really good coach, he likes to share his experience in running.

"We manage our training very well, he has his own days where he runs with the other guys and I have my days where he helps me with my runs. "I just need to put more effort and pray that I stay injury free."

Munyaradzi Jari, who also hopes to make it to Tokyo, is resuming training next week following a short break after his last race for the year last month.

"At the moment I am not competing in any race because I want to make sure when I go for the qualifying races I am prepared.

"The qualifying time, 2:11:30 is not easy to run if you run another race now.

"I need to make sure, as from now, I will have proper eight weeks of training then go for a competition," said Jari.

Jari has engaged Collen Makaza to assist him with his preparations.

The national association have said they are working on creating the best environment and trying to meet the athletes' travelling expenses, so that they attend targeted competitions for qualifying.

Sprinter Ngoni Makusha also wants to be at the Tokyo Games next year.

"As 2019 is coming to an end, I just want to thank everyone who has been supporting me," he said.

"I really appreciate it . . . It has been a season with high and lows. I became Southern Region champion in both 100m and 200m, ran the best 200m of my life with a PB of 20.49 seconds, went to the world relay championships after running a national record of 38.95secs.

"As we approach 2020, I have lots of confidence that I will make it to the Olympics," Makusha posted on his Fabebook blog yesterday.

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