Ray Bande in MUTARE
MOSES Tarakinyu cemented his place as the national half-marathon champion after winning this year’s edition of the Tanganda half-marathon in Mutare yesterday.
Tarakinyu, who clocked one hour, one minute and 22 seconds, is the country’s sole representative at the World Half-marathon Championship to be held in China later this year.
Seasoned middle and long-distance runner Munyaradzi Jari came second after finishing the race in one hour, one minute and 44 seconds.
Defending Tanganda half-marathon champion Misheck Sithole, who won the previous edition of the race ostensibly owing to his familiarity with the route and terrain, having grown up in the eastern border city of Mutare, settled for third position after completing the race in one hour, two minutes and 25 seconds
Elijah Mabhunu was fourth while Kelvin Pangiso settled for fifth position.
An excited Tarakinyu said after the race: “I am really happy to have won the race. This is something that I looked forward to. It was not easy. It was tough. The course was tough but I am happy I overcame. I looking forward to the future races but this has inspired confidence in me and I am looking forward with a positive mindset.”
Veteran female runner Olivia Chitate was the winner of the women’s 21km main event after finishing the race in one hour, 16 minutes and eight seconds ahead of Bertha Sitariko who clocked one hour, 16 minutes and 43 seconds.
Constance Nyasango came third.
In the women’s wheelchair 21km category, pre-race favourite Stellah Jongwe romped home first ahead of second-placed Thandiwe Ndlovu and Margaret Bangajena, who came third.
For her effort, Jongwe received US$350.
‘’I’m glad to have won this race and this will inspire me to work much harder ahead of the upcoming road races. The race was tough but I was more than determined to win it,” Jongwe said.
The men’s wheelchair race had Samson Mutoyiwa coming first ahead of veteran Elford Moyo.
Munyaradzi Katiyo came third.
In the men’s 10km race, Wellington Varevi came first while in the women’s category of the same event, Faith Sanyika came first.
Tanganda Tea Company financial director, Henry Nemaire, said: “We are excited that we managed to attract the numbers of athletes that we wanted. That only is enough evidence that we have done more than enough to prepare for this event. We are happy that the athletes put up a splendid performance and they showed the zeal to win. At the end of the day, the winner is the sport and that is what we, as Tanganda Tea Company, aspire. The diversified agribusiness company wished to play its part in building a healthy society and this dovetails into that,” said Nemaire.
Manicaland Athletics Board (MAB) chairperson, Joshua ‘’Zesa’’ Matume, commended Tanganda Tea Company for helping in improving the standards of athletics in this country.
“We are excited that Tanganda Tea Company has seen it fit to sponsor athletics and this event is enough evidence that the company is determined to help the sport grow.
“We really appreciate that. We just hope that many more corporate partners will come in and join us as we try to develop athletics in this country,” Matume said.
National Athletics Association Zimbabwe (NAAZ) president Tendai Tagara said: “The race attracted the best athletes and it is an achievement not only for the race but for the fraternity. We are loking forward to other races with the satisfaction that we got from here.
We really want to applaud the sponsors Tanganda Tea Compnay as well as the local organising committee for this amazing and exciting event,” said the former Mutare Polytechnic College lecturer.