Nyasango, Juwawo set to im­press in Rio

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - El­lina Mh­langa Harare Bu­reau

SEA­SONED long dis­tance-run­ners Cuth­bert Nyasango and Wir­i­mai Juwawo re­turn to the Olympic Games this week­end hop­ing to leave an im­pres­sion when they com­pete in the men’s marathon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sun­day.

Both ath­letes will be mak­ing their sec­ond ap­pear­ance at the Games. They are ex­pected to leave for Brazil tomorrow.

They will be joined by United States­based Par­don Ndhlovu, who will be mak­ing his maiden ap­pear­ance.

Nyasango and Juwawo put up an in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance at the 2012 Lon­don Olympic Games when they fin­ished sev­enth and 15th re­spec­tively.

How­ever, it re­mains to be seen if the two ath­letes will be able to pull an­other sur­prise in Rio.

Nyasango yes­ter­day said he is geared for the race be­fore adding that he is look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try for the sec­ond time at the global sport­ing show­case.

“I have been train­ing as usual, there are no ma­jor changes. I am now fo­cus­ing more on the race and there is a lot that goes on when run­ning.

I am just think­ing of those things be­yond my con­trol such as the weather, wind and other ath­letes.

“As al­ways I want to do my best, go out there and rep­re­sent my coun­try to my level best. This is the high­est level of sport and you al­ways ex­pect the tough­est com­pe­ti­tion. Ev­ery­one there qual­i­fied, so it’s go­ing to be tough,” said Nyasango.

Zim­babwe will be field­ing a full team for the men’s marathon for the first time and Nyasango said it’s a good sign for the sport.

“As al­ways it’s im­por­tant when we go as a team. It means as a coun­try we are in the right di­rec­tion, it means we are do­ing well,” said Nyasango. Juwawo said although he had an out­stand­ing per­for­mance in 2012, it’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult in Rio. In 2012 he ran 2 hours 12 min­utes 08 sec­onds in Lon­don and his qual­i­fi­ca­tion time for this year’s Games is 2hours 14min­utes 25sec­onds. “It’s dif­fi­cult to say whether we will sur­pass the pre­vi­ous per­for­mance or not be­cause ev­ery­one there ran 2 hours 19mins, which was the qual­i­fy­ing time or less. So it’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult. Af­ter watch­ing the women’s race on Sun­day it seems the com­pe­ti­tion is go­ing to be tough. “But I am ex­cited to rep­re­sent my coun­try again this year,” said Juwawo. In the women’s sec­tion, Ru­tendo Nya­hora, who was the only rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Zim­babwe fin­ished on po­si­tion 92 last Sun­day. In an in­ter­view with Zim­pa­pers’ Spencer Banda, Nya­hora said her next tar­get is the World cham­pi­onships next year in Lon­don and re­mains op­ti­mistic of an­other ap­pear­ance at the Olympics in 2020, in Tokyo, Ja­pan. “I qual­i­fied for the World cham­pi­onships for next year and I am look­ing for­ward to it. And that I will do much bet­ter there in Lon­don. “I am go­ing to Tokyo. I am 100 per­cent sure be­cause I am con­fi­dent be­cause four years back I used to tell peo­ple that I am go­ing to run in Rio and here I am in Rio. The next stop is Tokyo,” said Nya­hora. All hopes are now on the trio of Nyasango, Juwawo and Ndhlovu to raise the coun­try’s flag high as sprinter Tatenda Tsumba failed to make the grade to progress to the next round in the men’s 200m yes­ter­day. Tsumba came sixth in 21.04 sec­onds in heat six. Ja­maica’s Nickel Ash­meade was first in 20.15 sec­onds, fol­lowed by Adam Gemili of Great Britain in 20.20 sec­onds. They are the two ath­letes from this hit who pro­ceeded to the semi-fi­nals.

Cuth­bert Nyasango

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