AS GLOBAL Sports Academy continue with their efforts to create opportunities for upcoming athletes, one of their promising sprinters, Nigel Jena, recently left the country on a scholarship to Indiana Institute of Technology in the United States.
Jena joined the university on a four-year scholarship and will be doing the 100m and 200m events, while also studying for a degree in Computer Science.
His coach Malvin Moyo confirmed the development and said it was a deserved reward for the hard working young athlete.
Moyo pointed out that they had to explore other avenues for the athlete to compete after he missed out on representing the country on several occasions, including the 2016 World Junior Championships.
Jena had in 2016 ran 10,42 seconds, a qualifying time for the World Junior Championships at the inter-provincial finals at White City Stadium in Bulawayo. But unfortunately, the electronic timer at the stadium had a fault at the time and his time could not be recognised by the IAAF, much to his disappointment.
“What we then did to motivate the boy was that we had to go to Belgium, where he got one silver medal in the 200m and then (came out) number four in the 100m.
“My kids don’t run Under-20 when we go international, we compete in the (senior) men’s because I am trying to make them run for a university in America.
“It was our first international competition, it was crazy. The stadium was packed, we were running in Antwerp and we got one medal and we were happy. We came back . . . Then last year we went back.
“We ran in the competition called Little Memorial Athletic Competition on August 30 and Jena got gold in the senior men 100m event. The Memorial François Polspoel competition was on September 2 and he got gold in the 100m and gold in the 200m, all done in Vilvoorde, Belgium,” said Moyo.
Moyo said they are setting their eyes on 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and is hopeful with the right support, the young athlete will make it.
“Our hope is if he keeps on working hard, he can make the Olympics. Coach Edgar Doug (at Indiana Tech) has produced some of the best (athletes). I am hoping if we take care of this boy and the other youngsters who are upcoming, we will do really well. For us as an academy, we are happy. Indiana Tech is tough, to go and get into Indiana Tech, it’s a tough call,” said Moyo.
Jena is expected to take part in his first competition today when he competes in the Doug Raymond Invitational in Ohio.
Global Sports Academy was launched in 2011, with the focus being on track and field and soccer. They are currently based at Celebration Centre. For athletics, Moyo said they like to keep the track and field team small since it requires more work compared to the soccer programme.
One of their upcoming footballers Corey Jacobs, left the country this week for Czech Republic on a one-year training programme with MSM International Football Academy, as he takes his first step in pursuing his dream to become a professional player.