Collin Matiza, Harare Bureau
FORMER Zimbabwe’s star long jumper Ngonidzashe Makusha believes the country has got a future Olympic and World champion in the making in young United States-based sprinter Kundai Leo Maguranyanga.
Maguranyanga’s stock is slowly rising since he moved to Drake University in Iowa, United States, for a four-year athletics scholarship in January this year.
In March, the 20-year-old Harare-born athlete announced his arrival at Drake University by clocking the college’s fastest time in the 200-metre event since 1981.
On March 24, Maguranyanga helped the Drake University’s track and field team to 22 top-10 finishes at the Arkansas Spring Invitational after he ran a time of 21.08 seconds to win the men’s 200 metres event and his time was the fastest from a Bulldog since 1981 and ranks fourth all-time in school history.
More was to follow from the talented Zimbabwean athlete as this past weekend saw him winning the Freshman of the Year award after he set two personal best times in the 100 and 200m events during the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indiana.
At the weekend, Maguranyanga finally broke his 21-second barrier when coming second in the 200m final in 20.67 seconds before he crowned a memorable outing for himself at this three-day meet by clocking 10.44 seconds in the 100m event, where he finished in third place.
And Makusha, who took Maguranyanga to Drake University after the promising young sprinter impressed at the 13th African Junior Championships in Tlemcen, Algeria, in July last year where he won a silver medal for Zimbabwe in the 200m final and a gold medal in the 4x100m relay, said his prodigy has got a bright future ahead of him.
Makusha, who won a bronze medal for Zimbabwe in the men’s long jump during the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, is now an assistant coach for sprints, hurdles and jumps at Drake University.
And yesterday Makusha saluted Maguranyanga following his exploits on the track during last weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indiana where he finished in the top three in both the men’s 100 and 200m finals in which he ran with some senior athletes.
“Kundai is coming along very well. He was placed third in the 100m final with a new personal best time of 10.44sec and became a runner-up in a strong field of juniors and seniors in the 200m final with another personal best time of 20.67sec. (The 200m event was won by a senior athlete Anderson Devonish of Illinois State University in 20.55sec).
“These marks qualify him (Maguranyanga) for the West Regional Championships coming up in a (few) weeks time in California. Kundai was voted the Most Valuable Freshman of the Year and what he did this past weekend is very impressive.
“I’m happy for him and I hope he uses this to fuel his journey in college to reach greater heights,” said Makusha, who was speaking to our Harare Bureau from his base at Des Moines in Iowa, United States, yesterday.
He also said that barring any injuries, Maguranyanga should make Team Zimbabwe for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
“He can do great (things for himself). He can do better . . . . His (performance in the) 200m (event) is insane and I think he can clock 19secs,” Makusha added.