By Ellina Mhlanga
Zimbabwe’s top female long-distance runner, Rutendo Nyahora, wants to go a gear up in her build-up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers when South Africa eases its lockdown from June 1.
Nyahora is based in South Africa and is eyeing her second Olympic Games appearance.
South African authorities announced at the weekend they will be easing their lockdown from the beginning of next month when they move to Level Three.
Among the changes, announced by President Ramaphosa, will be the permission for people to exercise at any time during the day.
And, for Nyahora, it means she can adjust her programme allowing her more time for her training schedule.
“I’m happy and sad at the same time because here in South Africa the number (of Covid-19 cases) is rising day by day, especially where I’m staying now in Pretoria West.
“There is a high number of people who are affected by COVID-19.
“Starting from the 1st of June, I will be training twice a day so that we can be able to put more mileage and I’m glad that I still have enough time to train for next year’s Olympics,” said Nyahora.
She has represented the country in several major events, including the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The following year, she went competed at the World Championships in London.
Last year, she was the only Zimbabwean female athlete who made it for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, as her profile continues to grow.
Nyahora has made it clear she would want to return to the Olympics.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are now scheduled for next year due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
With athletics qualifying events expected to resume in December, subject to the situation returning to normal, athletes remain hopeful and are doing all that is possible, during this period, to remain positive.
“We still have to be very careful because now you don’t know who has the virus and who doesn’t,” she said.
“At least, the park where I’m training, it’s only two of us who are training there.
“I’m happy that people around there understand us and they decided to train on the road so that we can train in the park.
“I will keep on staying indoors, maintaining social distance, putting my mask when I’m going to buy essential stuff and washing my hands regularly so that I will stay healthy.”
Fortunate Chidzivo, who is also based in South Africa, is another female long-distance runner Zimbabwe is hoping will meet the qualification standard for Tokyo 2020.