Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FOR the past two editions of the World Championships, long-distance runner Munyaradzi Jari thought he had made the cut for the global showcase, only for him to realise that was not the case. The races he featured in were not among those certified by the IAAF for qualification.
And he made the mistake twice which saw him missing the 2015 and 2017 editions of the global competition.
He did not give up and Jari’s dream finally came true last September when he clocked 2 hours 14 minutes 2 seconds at the Cape Town marathon in South Africa to book his place at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The qualifying time for men has been set at 2hours 16minutes for this year.
“I didn’t lose hope and I would like to thank Mr (Tendai) Tagara, the NAAZ president,” he said.
”He is the one who came and spoke to me and I understood that it happens that sometimes you think you have qualified only to realise the race was not up to the IAAF standard.
“Last year, I even spoke to the other guys to say if I fail to qualify, I will hang up my shoes in marathon and go back to ultra-marathon.
”I didn’t realise that my time had come.”
The seasoned long distance runner is set to be one of the country’s representatives at the forthcoming World Championships.
Participating countries can only field three athletes to make a full marathon team in each category – men and women.
“It will be my first time at the biggest event like World Championships…My aim at the moment is to be in the top 20.
”But, if God allows it, I will be happy to be in top 10,” said Jari.
In May, he is also eyeing qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Tagara said Jari’s commitment and hard work was now paying dividends.
“I always told him to be committed in training and to always work hard,” said Tagara.
”I told him success comes through going an extra mile, working hard beyond what the normal system dies.
”That extra edge creates champions. I got that from my own coach Bernard Dzoma, who was a former national 5000m coach, he still there in Mutare.”