By Collin Matiza
ZIMBABWE’S United States-based star triple jumper, Chengetayi “Du” Mapaya. once again stole the limelight during the Big 12 Indoor Championship at Texas Tech’s Sports Centre at the weekend.
He overshadowed his fellow Texas Christian University athletes when he picked up another gold medal.
According to reports from Lubbock in Texas, United States, Mapaya won his second Big 12 Indoor Triple Jump Championship on Saturday.
He also led Texas Christian University’s men’s track and field team to finish in fifth place at this indoor meet.
One jump was all Mapaya needed to take the Big 12 triple jump crown.
The senior leaped 16.55m on his first attempt and passed on his final four.
TCU have won three of the past four Big 12 indoor triple jumps with Mapaya (2019, 2021) and Scotty Newton (2018) triumphing.
Mapaya has been in fine form, during this term’s indoor track and field season, in the United States.
Only last month, he scooped another gold medal after he jumped 16.63 metres, during the two-day Texas Tech Invitational indoor track and field meet, and now owns the top mark in the United States.
His mark also ranks fifth in the world.
Mapaya’s gold medal feat on Saturday came a day after he was placed fifth in the men’s long jump on Day One of the Big 12 Championships last Friday.
In just his third collegiate long jump appearance, Mapaya placed fifth at the conference championship, jumping 7.34m (24-1). The senior passed on his final four attempts.
Mapaya hadn’t jumped since last year’s conference meet, where he also placed fifth (7.43m).
Mapaya was not the only TCU-based Zimbabwean athlete who made the headlines during the weekend’s indoor meet at Texas Tech’s Sports Centre.
His fellow countryman Tinotenda Matiyenga, who is also a senior at TCU, ran a career-best 6.66 seconds in the 60m event for TCU’s first silver medal of the day on Saturday.
TCU athletes qualified for the 60m finals and they included another Zimbabwean sprinter, Kundai Maguranyanga (6.77 seconds), a redshirt junior, who, unfortunately, failed to get a medal on Saturday.
Matiyenga also scooped another silver with the TCU men’s 4x400m relay team at the same event.
The TCU men’s 4x400m relay of Blake Hennesay, Matiyenga, David Seete and Ethan Brown closed out the meet with silver medals around their necks.
The squad went 3:07.33 with Matiyenga clocking a 46.06 on the second leg.
Matiyenga went on to pick up another medal, this time a bronze in the men’s 200m final.
The Zimbabwean sprinter secured a bronze medal in the 200m after running 20.77 seconds.
Another TCU-based Zimbabwean sprinter Simbarashe Maketa also made it into the men’s 200m final but he failed to finish in the top three on Saturday.
Matiyenga’s teammate Brown also donned a bronze medal in the 400m, setting a new personal-best time of 46.62.
Rainey Anderson brought home TCU’s first medal of the day, hurdling his way to bronze. Anderson ran a season-best 7.96 in the 60m hurdles.
In the Team Standings, TCU’s men finished in fifth place, scoring their second-most points ever at the Big 12 conference championship.
The Horned Frog men accumulated 70 points, collecting one gold through Mapaya, two silver and three bronze medals in the process.
The Frogs highest conference finish came in 2018, scoring 74 points en route to fourth place.
TCU’s women finished in 10th place.