|Zim’s medal hope wasting away|
|Saturday, 11 August 2012 00:00|
WHILE her former training partner, Cuthbert Nyasango, is scheduled to compete in the men’s marathon tomorrow as the curtain comes down on 2012 London Olympic Games, Jane Makombe is busy nursing her four children at home in Cold Comfort.
Makombe was once regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s brightest prospects in middle and long distances and was destined to scale greater heights in the sport that she loved so much.
She still has a burning passion for the sport, but her dream seems to have turned into a nightmare.
The former Kuwadzana High 1 student has fallen on hard times and is finding it difficult to fend for her children born between 2004 and 2011.
She was married to top athlete Michael Ngaaseke and they separated in 2008 when she was pregnant with their third child Maximore.
They had other two children Michael and Macdonald.
She went on to marry Patrick Jimu and had one child, a girl named Tanaka.
Jimu died early this year.
Makombe, a product of Bensen Chauke’s Kuwadzana High Athletics Club, used to be a household name that has just faded away.
She made a name for herself during the Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited national secondary schools cross country championships in 2000 when she won the title and qualified to represent the country at the World Cross-Country championships in Poland.
Makombe dominated local races in the girls’ section as her training partner Nyasango swept the boys’ titles.
During her days at Kuwadzana, Makombe used to train alongside Nyasango and Ngaaseke.
In 2004, Makombe took a sabbatical from the track after falling pregnant and completely disappeared from the athletics radar.
“I have been to different countries representing Zimbabwe and I began competing in international events in 1999. I set a national record in the 3 000m at the World Youth championships in the same year.
“But I last competed in major competitions in 2004, from there it has been on-and-off because I don’t have enough resources.
“When training you need a proper diet to keep you going but I am facing difficulties and sometimes I don’t even have food for my children.
“I need sponsorship so that I can have proper training and also take care of my children because I am finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“Michael is in Grade Two and he has stopped going to school because I don’t have money to pay for the fees,” said Makombe.
The 28-year-old said she still has the energy to compete and can balance her roles both as a mother and an athlete.
“I have given birth to four children but that will not stop me from pursuing my dream. What one needs is just training and to be strong in mind. I don’t care what people say.
“I am currently training with Muchaneta Gwata.
“I went for races in South Africa just nine months after giving birth to my first child Michael in 2004. In 2006 I gave birth to my second child and I took a break again before I resumed competing.
“This year I competed in the president’s race and I managed to finish in the top 10,” said Makombe.
Makombe said while she regrets some of the decisions she has made in life, she remains optimistic.
“Maybe if I had not married early, I would be someone. I have had so many ups and downs in my life and I would not want any other girl out there to face the same situation.
“I got married just after finishing my O-Levels and I moved in with my husband,” said Makombe.
Her father, Alexander Makombe, is a disappointed man as he had high hopes for his child.
“I didn’t expect her to live such a life. She was a talented young athlete during her days. I believe the men who came into her life messed everything for her.
“As her parents we are not working and life has become difficult for us, she is my own blood, I cannot chase her away,” said the father.
Jane’s mother, Julia Kachingwe, said she hopes her daughter finds a sponsor to help her revive her career.
“Jane used to represent Zimbabwe but now life is difficult for her. I hope she finds a sponsor to support her.
“I am prepared to look after the children while she continues with athletics,” said Kachingwe.