By Collin Matiza
UNITED States-based Zimbabwean track and field stars Kundai Maguranyanga and Cloud Masibhera are already preparing for the 2019 season in which they both hope to make it into Team Zimbabwe for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Both Maguranyanga (20) and Masibhera (19) are on athletics scholarships at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, where they are under the tutelage of former Zimbabwe star long jumper Ngoni Makusha.
Makusha, who won a bronze medal for Zimbabwe at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, is now an assistant track and field coach at Drake University and he believes that both Maguranyanga and Masibhera are strong candidates for Team Zimbabwe for next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha. The 2019 IAAF World Championships are scheduled to run from September 27 to October 6.
And Makusha recently told The Herald from his base in Iowa, United States, that his Zimbabwean proteges Maguranyanga and Masibhera, who both joined Drake University at the beginning of this year, have now settled down at his college and they have just started their preparations for the 2019 season with their eyes aimed at qualifying for the Doha World Championships and probably for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Kundai Maguranyanga and Cloud Masibhera have settled in well here at Drake University. They are loving college life and are doing very well in their courses. We just started our preparations for the 2019 season which will start with our first competition (ice breaker) on December 7 at the University of Iowa in Iowa.
“Then from there on, we will slowly let the season take shape after coming back from the Christmas break. Kundai and Cloud have been putting in (some) good work and they are very focused for the upcoming season (where they both hope to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Doha).
“I am glad they chose to work with me and try to achieve their personal and team goals on the college scene and beyond,” Makusha said.
This year, one of his proteges Masibhera, a former pupil at Churchill High School in Harare, won the indoor long jump title at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championships and finished fourth in the triple jump event.
As of September 2018, Masibhera’s personal bests in long jump and triple jump were 7,52m and 14,29m respectively.
Maguranyanga also had a good outdoor season during his first year at Drake University.
He finished third in the 100m, second in the 200m, third in the 4x100m relay and eighth in the 4x400m relay at the MVC Championships; and this saw him winning the MVC Freshman of the Year award. Maguranyanga, a former pupil at Pamushana High School in Masvingo, also finished ninth in the 200m, sixth in the 4x100m relay and 12th in the 4x400m relay at the Drake Relays.
In the 2018 indoor season, Maguranyanga finished eighth in the 60m dash at the MVC Championships.
His personal best time in the 60m dash is 6.91 seconds and as of September 2018 his PB in the 200m event is 22,21 seconds.