Allen Khumalo Sports Reporter
RENOWNED world track and field athletics coach American Darryl Anderson conducted a workshop for athletes and coaches in collaboration with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and Arnold Payne Global Sports International at the Bulawayo Polytechnic yesterday.

Anderson warned athletes against forgetting that there was life after sports and urged them to prepare themselves for it by getting a proper education.

“The key to every sport is discipline. Athletes should not detach sport from academics because these two work hand in hand. At some point you won’t be fast anymore, you won’t jump high anymore and at that point you won’t be known,” said Anderson.

“A lot of athletes look at their lives as athletes, but what happens when that life is over? If you don’t have a degree what are you going to lean on? Therefore, no matter what, athletes must grab all educational opportunities they get to prepare for the future,” he said.

Arnold Payne, a former Zimbabwe 400m record holder who also represented the country at the All-Africa Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, believes that exposure to other people with better practices and standards may propel passion in local sports.

“We asked Anderson to come and share what we ultimately worry about in the world of athletics and that would be the education that is required by sports science students and associations. We realised that most athletes are failing to prepare for their future and that is why today we emphasised on the importance of education, which will help athletes when they are 30 or 40 years old,” said Payne.

“Athletes need to have their academics in order because there are scholarships that require athletes to have good academic grades. We have had situations where some athletes fail to get scholarships because they don’t have good grades. So we encourage athletes to take education seriously because this is the main key to scholarships.”

Payne also advised athletes on the importance of nutrition, discipline as well as surrounding oneself with people that encourage them to succeed. He said coaches also need to be well educated in world class methods to get athletes as far as possible in their various disciplines.

Northlea High School athletics coach Musawenkosi Thabane said such programmes were the missing link in the development of local sport.

“I want to thank the organisers because today we got to know the standards that are required for our athletes to qualify for overseas scholarships. As coaches, we were also told to plan for our events so that we are always prepared for any competition,” said Thabane.

Chairman of the Bulawayo Athletics Board Manuel Mpofu said he was very proud of what Payne did because it showed that he is interested in the development of athletics in Zimbabwe. He also encouraged athletes and coaches to put to good use what they were taught by Anderson when the athletics season starts.

Anderson will today hold another workshop for athletes and coaches at White City Stadium in Bulawayo. — @khumzallen

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