Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ONE of Zimbabwe’s top track and field coaches, Stanley “Fresh” Madiri, has been appointed coach of the British sprinters for this year’s European Indoor Championships.The 2015 European Indoor Championships will take place in Prague, Czech Republic from March 6-8.
And UK Athletics have entrusted Madiri with the duties of coaching Britain’s top sprinters at this prestigious event.
Madiri will first have to assess them at the Élan Meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia next weekend.
The Elan Meeting, an indoor track and field competition especially designed for athletes from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK, is the final of three warm-up international championships for the European Indoor Meet in Prague in March.
And, speaking from his base in London yesterday, Madiri, who has been coaching in England for the past 12 years, said he felt honoured and humbled by this latest appointment.
“Naturally, it’s very self-building to be acknowledged in this way, albeit humbling, considering the responsibility to the selected talent and potential under my stewardship. Upcoming British sprinters such as Aidan Paul Syers, Rebekah Wilson, Loren Bleakan and veterans Dwayne Chambers and Asha Phillips are some of them.
“All in all I have 16 sprinters, with four making their international debut at these (two) championships,” Madiri said.
The 48-year-old Zimbabwean coach is now rated as one of the best coaches in England after having helped a number of British athletes to scale greater heights on the track under his mentorship at Speed Dynamiks, an athletics club based at a High Performance Centre called Lee Valley in North London.
Among the athletes, who are under Madiri’s wings in England, is British sprint sensation Jodie Williams.
Last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland saw a number of rising young stars step up to the plate.
One of them was sprinter Williams (20), who a won silver medal in the 200m and a bronze in the 4x100m relay, thanks to a helping hand from her Zimbabwean coach Madiri.
As a former World Junior champion, Williams has been well-known in athletics circles for years.
But it’s her performance in Glasgow that has put her on the map under the tutelage of Madiri.
Before he left to settle in the UK some 12 years ago, Madiri was a revered track and field coach in Zimbabwe who identified, groomed and nurtured a number of the country’s top sprinters.
From the schools set-up here in Zimbabwe, Madiri was a sportsmaster at Marondera High School and he “produced” the likes of Felix Kamangirira, Yvonne Ntini, Larissa Bakare, Chawada Kachidza (who won the IAAF rising star competition and was rewarded with a ‘watch the Games bonus’ and went to the ‘96 Atlanta Olympics).
After his stint at Marondera High School, Madiri joined the Millenium Athletics Academy, which he founded with the legendary Zimbabwean athletics coach Robert Mutsauki.
He scouted, recruited and trained, among others, Young Talkmore Nyongani from Chinhoyi, Beauty Dube from Nyanga, Sharon Tawengwa from Masvingo, Angela Makaha from Murehwa and Lloyd Zvasiya from Mabvuku.
Nyongani, Tawengwa and Zvasiya later went on to represent Zimbabwe at the Olympic Games at different occasions.
However, as a coach in Zimbabwe, Madiri had only one international assignment with Letiwe Mharakurwa for the World Junior Championships in 1997.