Zimuto shifts focus to Olympics qualification Tendai Zimuto

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

AFTER defending the CBZ Marathon title over the weekend, distance runner Tendai Zimuto is stepping up his preparations for an Olympic qualifying race next month.

Zimuto is scheduled to compete at the Enschede Marathon, in the Netherlands on April 21.

The Black Rhinos athlete is one of the several marathon runners the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe is pinning their hopes to make the cut for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games due to take place from July 26 to August 11.

The qualifying period for the marathon closes on April 30.

Speaking after Sunday’s race, he said they are on track in their preparations for the upcoming race.

He is currently in camp, training together with Isaac Mpofu, who qualified for the Games more than a year ago and is now working towards his participation in Paris.

Seasoned coach Benson Chauke is in charge of the camp.

“We are in good direction. I am happy because I am seeing some changes even my legs are now stronger than they were last time. The training programme I am getting is paying off.

“I told coach (Benson Chauke) that I want to run the CBZ Marathon just to assess my progress. So the coach is happy, and Isaac is also happy.

“Now we are going to work on speed, speed endurance, and strength because in terms of power and the base we have made good progress.”

They got into camp towards the end of January.

The qualifying time for the men’s marathon is 2 hours 8 minutes 10 seconds. Women are chasing a qualifying time of 2 hours 26 minutes 50 seconds.

Zimuto said being part of the camp, which was mainly targeted at Mpofu, who is already building up for the Olympic Games is a huge opportunity for him.

“The first month we were working on the base work. So now we have to focus on speed and speed endurance be-cause, in the next race, we are targeting (to run the qualifying) time. So we need to have more speed.

“This is a big opportunity for me because not everyone is getting the opportunity to train with Isaac, an athlete with a time of 2:06 of which I am just starting, I am yet to get there. So I know I am doing the same training as him . . . So the possibility of running a good time is high.

“It’s a huge opportunity and I appreciate, ZOC (Zimbabwe Olympic Committee), and NAAZ for all they are doing for us.

“I appreciate Isaac because this camp was for one person who had qualified for the Olympics but he chose me to be his training partner. So I just want to thank God,” said Zimuto.

Other runners-up for qualifying races next month are Moses Tarakinyu, Blessing Waison, and Ngonidzashe Ncube in the men’s category.

South Africa-based Rutendo Nyahora and Fortunate Chidzivo are the hopefuls in the women’s section.

Tarakinyu is also up for the Enschede Marathon in the Netherlands while Ncube and Nyahora are going for the Vienna City Marathon, also to take place on April 21.

The pair of Waison and Chidzivo are expected to run at Durban International Marathon on April 28.

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