Ellina Mhlanga in ASABA, Nigeria
ZIMBABWE sprinters Ngoni Makusha and Tatenda Tsumba got off to a good start at the African Senior Athletics Championships which finally got underway here yesterday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, securing semi-final places.
Makusha came first in 10.37seconds in Heat five. Earlier on Tsumba had finished second in Heat 4 with a time of 10.47seconds in the poorly-organised Championships.
They both had a good day on the track and Makusha said it was an encouraging performance as he shifts his focus to the next round.
“It was tough with all the chaos I didn’t get to have too much rest, but it was a pretty good performance.
“I didn’t start very well, but I managed to catch up which is a good thing, which means there is room for more improvement in the semi-finals.
“So now I am just looking forward to do well in the semi-finals and progress to the final,” said Makusha.
The semi-finals are on this morning and the finals will take place later in the day.
Tsumba was also impressed by his performance as he had a good run.
“It feels great to be going to the next stage. I feel great about my body, about my performance and I feel like I really executed the race as I wanted to.
“I wasn’t really expecting much, just trying to make sure I am in the top three. So I wasn’t really trying to race anyone or looking at the time. It’s going through rounds, so just making sure that I get to the next round,” said Tsumba.
The men’s 100m race was one of the three events that took place yesterday with most of the events that were set for day one moved to fit in the remaining four days due to organisational problems.
Most teams could not connect from Lagos to Asaba in time.
Zimbabwe were also set to compete in the 400m men and women races, but the events were moved to today.
They will be represented by Rodwell Ndlovu, Leon Tafirenyika and Blessing Nyandoro in the men’s race while Faith Dube will compete in the women’s section.
The quartet will also be hoping to make it to the semi-finals.
Ndlovu, who is just coming from an ankle injury said despite the setback he will be out to do his best.
“I always have a European season so I didn’t have an international season due to my injury. I broke my ankle end of April during the student championships in South Africa and I have been trying to recover from that.
“So I would say the last time I raced was end of April, so I haven’t had a race building up to here.
“My personal goal is just to make a final and of course for Zimbabwe is just to push for that medal, be it bronze, silver or gold.
“But personally I will be very glad if I go through to the final because based on what I have just explained, the injury that I had just to come back now. But I am feeling good,” said Ndlovu.
Despite his event moved to this morning, Ndlovu remained focused.
“So again you psyche yourself up and then you have to let it go. But I think this will be a character testing competition for most athletes all the same,” said Ndlovu.
The South Africa-based athlete also expressed his excitement of representing the country.