Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S upcoming triathlon star, Drew Williams, has pledged loyalty to this country. He says he will return to his home country and compete in the men’s elite category which has no representatives at the moment.
Since the retirement of Chris Felgate in 2012 after competing for the country in two Olympic Games events, Zimbabwe has struggled to identify talent that could stick around for a while for a professional triathlon career.
But Williams — who only took part in the open mile swim of the Schweppes Water ATU Triathlon Africa Cup over the weekend as he is still nursing an injury — says he is dedicated to serving Zimbabwe.
He said his university commitments will not hold him back from coming back to race for the country he so loves.
“The problem we have in Zimbabwe is that we compete here (at the Africa Cup) but when we go to university overseas we never come back to serve our country of origin.
“But I have been working hard with the youngsters to try and influence them to keep going so that they also come back and represent their country,” said the former St John’s College athlete.
Having represented Zimbabwe at different international youth competitions, Williams still has big dreams as he feels that his career is still in its infancy with the global showcase — the Olympics — being his ultimate goal.
Though the sport — like may others in Zimbabwe — is faced with financial challenges, Williams says he is fortunate enough to have had a number of sponsors who have come his way, including a family that stands by him.
“Personally, I want to go to the main Olympics be it 2020, 2024 or even 2028 whatever it takes I am going to work hard to make it there because I know I want to make this country proud.
”I want to go to the Olympics, this year I want to make it to the Youth Championships but since I did not race last year, because I was injured, I want to find out what the selectors say.
“It’s tough in this sport, especially with the finances (or lack of it) but my parents have been really supportive and I have had a few sponsors over the years.
“Triathlon is not a big sport and so it does not attract big sponsors but they should because there are so many different areas they can sponsor.
“With the amount of time we spend training or out on the road, for example I cycle 30 kilometres along the Shamva Road and back, the advertising would be great but we need to do more to attract sponsors,” said the 19-year-old.
Last year Williams took a break but got back into training for the World Championships after coming fourth in Egypt but the race was changed to duathlon.
“It was a different experience but I did well and I was happy with my time,” he said.