Collin Matiza Sports Editor
PROMISING Zimbabwean sprinter Kundai Leo Maguranyanga will this week plunge into his first major track and field event at his new base in the United States when he takes part in the Drake Relays. The Drake Relays is an outdoor track and field event held at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Billed as America’s Athletic Classic, it is regarded as one of the top track and field events in the United States.
This athletics showcase event attracts more than 40 000 spectators, 220 college and university teams and world-class athletes. And Maguranyanga (19), who moved to Drake University at the beginning of this year, is part of the Drake University’s track and field team that will take part in the four-day Drake Relays which will run from today until Saturday.
Maguranyanga won a four-year athletics scholarship at Drake University after having impressed at the 13th African Junior Championships in Tlemcen, Algeria, in July last year where he was part of the Zimbabwe 4x100m relay team which did the nation proud by scooping a gold medal. He also won a silver medal in the 200m event when coming second behind South Africa’s “Golden Boy” Clarence Munyai in 21.11 seconds. Munyai won the 200m title in 20.22 seconds to produce the highlight performance of the final day of action in Tlemcen where he was given a good run for his money by Maguranyanga.
And now Maguranyanga, a former pupil of Pamushana High School in Masvingo, is preparing to take part in his first major track and field event in the United States when he competes in the men’s 200m event at this week’s Drake Relays.
Speaking to The Herald from Des Moines yesterday, Maguranyanga said he has just recovered from a sprain in his right foot and has been drafted into the Drake University’s track and field team for this week’s Drake Relays. At Drake University, Maguranyanga is under the tutelage of his fellow Zimbabwean Ngonidzashe Makusha who is now a sprints coach at the same college.
“My next race is this weekend where we have the Drake relays. I will be running in the 200m event. I had a little sprain on my right foot so I couldn’t run well in the past few weeks but I’m now much better and ready for the (Drake) relays.
“My stay at Drake University since I moved here in January has been amazing so far. I’ve made a lot of friends from all over the world. Drake is a diversified university. It recruits athletes from countries like Spain, Wales, New Zealand, Austria and the list goes on. We recently had a sunny day. It was a really hot day with highest temperature of 20°C, it was amazing because it had been snowing since I settled here.
“We have Olympians like Andre Degrasse coming through so it also stands as a motivation. I’m also confident that I will be part of the Zimbabwean team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and I just hope we also get to go for the next Commonwealth Games in 2022,” Maguranyanga said.