Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
CHRISTMAS is here and for many it’s that time of the year when they take a break from their busy schedules to spend time with family and friends.
It’s not different for sportspersons, after spending most of their time in the limelight, competing at various levels and some representing and making the nation proud in regional, continental and international commitments, they also take some time off to be with their loved ones.
It’s also time to recharge the batteries before they embark on other assignments, set new goals and re-set the button for the New Year.
After an interesting year that saw her writing her own piece of history when she became the first Zimbabwean female cricketer to register an ODI century during their maiden series against Ireland, Lady Chevrons’ captain Mary-Anne Musonda is taking time to be with her family.
She was then nominated for the International Cricket Council October Player of the Month after her outstanding performance during that series against Ireland.
“For the festive season, I am just going to spend it with my family. It’s family time so whatever we will be doing, we will be together.
“I think we will have a day out somewhere, a day’s trip, somewhere out of Harare.
“I want to wish everyone else Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” said Musonda.
United States-based swimmer, Nomvula Mjimba, has settled well at Gannon University in the United States and will be visiting relatives for her first festive holiday away from home.
“I’m loving Gannon, college swimming and USA. This is my first festive season away from home and it feels like home here so I am having a good time.
“I only have two weeks’ holiday. I flew to Indianapolis last week to spend time with my relatives.
“I’m training daily to prepare for our conference gala in February and, of course, times continue to drop. Such a good feeling as I prepare for international meets to come including World Championships in Japan, African Games in Ghana and Paris 2024.
“No rest for me,” said Mjimba.
Upcoming motocross rider Emmanuel Bako is in Cape Town, South Africa, as he takes some time off his racing schedule to relax and recharge the batteries ahead of the 2022 season in which he is looking at competing in the European circuit.
The 14-year-old biker arrived in Cape Town yesterday accompanied by his father and manager, Brighton, his mother and two sisters Natania and Nyasha for the Christmas holidays.
Bako had a fruitful year as he was crowned a triple motocross champion in South Africa. He first won a Northern Regions Championship.
He then claimed the Inland Championship title and went on to take home the overall 85cc Pro Mini Class title in the 2021 South African National Motocross series.
Bako was also a double winner at this year’s season-ending Zimbabwe Summer Series where he walked away with the 85cc and 125cc titles to crown a memorable year for himself.
And for winning three titles in South Africa this year, Bako received a reward of US$10 000 from his local sponsors Better Brands Jewellery through their CEO, Scott Sakupwanya, who also hinted that he will fund the young biker’s trip to Europe next year.
South Africa-based runner Rutendo Nyahora’s plans for today’s Christmas Day include a long run as she is set to spend part of the day on the road, training for upcoming events.
She is scheduled to compete in the Dis-Chem half-marathon on January 16 as part of her build-up to the Vienna Marathon in April.
“Our plan for Christmas is to go for a long run in the morning as we are getting ready for next year. We don’t want to go a day without doing something.
“So (for) next year, my first race will be on the 16th of January. It’s one of the major races here in South Africa.
“So I am using it as part of my preparations for the marathon because I have a marathon in April, in Vienna. So my first race is Dis-Chem and it’s the race I am preparing for now,” said Nyahora.
Senior netball team vice-captain, Claris Kwaramba, is spending the day with her parents and siblings in Penhalonga.
For her there is more to celebrate although she said they won’t be doing much.
She was appointed Gems’ vice-captain as the senior national team returned to competition after a two-year break when they competed in the Pent Series and Africa Cup in Namibia.
Kwaramba also won the inaugural Premier Netball League with her club, Platinum Queens.
“I will be at home in Penhalonga with my parents, little brother and sister…We won’t do much,” said Kwaramba.
After a busy year, that also paused challenges to their programmes and competitions due to Covid-19, Triathlon Zimbabwe president, David Ellis, says it’s time to take a break and relish precious moments with friends and family.
Ellis was among triathlon officials that officiated at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games between July and August this year.
He was appointed to be a technical official at the Games by World Triathlon.
“I will be spending the time at home with family and friends and relishing precious time together as we look forward to a really special New Year after a couple of really testing years.
“On a personal note I would like to wish all the partners and participants of the Zimbabwe Triathlon fraternity and especially to you the press who show-case our sport a very Happy Christmas and a new year filled with exciting sporting activity,” said Ellis.
Seasoned long-distance runner and coach Collen Makaza says with a number of major races lined-up for next year, he is taking advantage of the Christmas holidays to get ready for the upcoming season together with his athletes.
“We are not going to be resting this Christmas. We are going to have our training session; it’s going to be a 30km long run.
“We are behind in terms of the schedule already, so we can’t stop.
“There are major races coming soon in South Africa,” said Makaza.
For seasoned karateka, Samson Muripo, it’s all about training and taking a rest as well during this holiday.
“I will be training and resting throughout to the year end,” said Muripo.