Jongwe eyes Tanganda half-marathon
Ellina Mhlanga–Senior Sports Reporter
WHEELCHAIR racing athlete Stellah Jongwe is confident she will be among the top athletes at the Tanganda Tea Company half-marathon on Sunday in Mutare when the race makes a return after a two-year hiatus.
The race has become a permanent feature on the local athletics calendar and it attracts some of the country’s leading middle and long-distance runners.
Jongwe will be competing in the 21km wheelchair race.
She has won several races, including the CBZ 21km in the wheelchair category, since she decided to compete in road races in 2020.
The 21-year-old said she has put in the work in preparation of the race and is aiming for a podium finish.
“My target for the Tanganda half-marathon is to bring something home, like a gold medal. If I get a silver, it’s okay but I am going for gold.
“I am also looking at improving my time, to complete the race in less than an hour so that I can participate in international races that’s my target for the Tanganda half-marathon,” said Jongwe.
She was part of the field that took part in the inaugural Mashwede 10km Road Race in Budiriro last Sunday.
“I participated in the Mashwede 10km race. It was a good race. For me the race was part of my training. It was a preparation for the Tanganda half-marathon which is the big one.
“I have been preparing for this race. To me it’s a big event the Tanganda half-marathon, so preparations are still going on. We are having training sessions in the morning and gym sessions but it’s no longer that intensive as we are now getting closer to race day.
“I think after the Mashwede race, my body has adjusted. So the preparations are no longer that intensive.
“Everything is now in place, I managed to register for the race, I am ready to go and participate,” said Jongwe.
More than 1 000 participants are expected to grace this year’s edition.
Reigning champion in the women’s section, Olivia Chitate, said she will be out to defend her title on Sunday
“I am happy the race is back after some time because of Covid-19.
“In terms of preparations, I think we have done enough, although we don’t know what will happen on the day of the race. But we have done enough.
“My hope is to defend the title but I leave everything to God,” said Chitate.
Chitate last week won the inaugural Mashwede 10km Road Race in Budiriro, which also gave her a chance to assess herself ahead of Sunday’s race in Mutare.
However, she admits competition has become tough and unpredictable.
“Competition is now stiff. It’s different from the other previous years where you would know going into a race that you are going to win.
“Nowadays it’s unpredictable, everyone is fit, everyone wants to win maybe it’s because of the break we had because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Competition is now tough and the upcoming athletes are good,” Chitate said.
Misheck Sithole is the title holder in the men’s category.