Lovemore Dube in BULAWAYO
ISAAC Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s crack marathon runner, returned to run on home soil with an easy stride in the White City Stars Track and Field Championships held in Bulawayo on Saturday.
While the field was not anything to write home about, Mpofu did not let slip a chance to work on his speed work and finish, winning the event in 30 minutes 08.84 seconds.
It was a convincing win as his runner-up was a distant two minutes behind him.
Blanket Mine’s Lucky Munsaka was second in 32 minutes 17.46 seconds with his compatriot from the Matabeleland South Mine claiming third spot in 33 minutes 44.79 seconds.
Mpofu is tuning up for the Paris Olympics to be held next year in France. He has already qualified and holds the national marathon record.
Nine athletes took to the starting point of the event but the weather forced three athletes to run out of steam and fail to finish the event.
In long jump, 17-year-old Gerald Magande won first spot with a jump of 6.27m as Christian Brothers dominated the top three positions.
Leeroy Ruwocha was send in 6.15m with Lindley Chase third with a leap of 5.70m.
Running as an independent Samkeliso Ndebele won the women’s 100m in 12,87 seconds.
She was followed to the finishing line by tiny Thembelihle Ncube of Lobengula High School who won the hearts of many when she anchored her team to first in the 4x100m as the day’s programme came to an end.
She ran a brilliant leg after receiving the baton in third place and sprinting and overtaking bigger girls to win the event convincingly.
Another independent won the men’s 100m. Carlton Siwela was first in 10.86 seconds and faced stiff competition from Alpha Mpofu who at 17 is three years younger but for a time of 11.13 seconds showed he has a good future in the sport.
Cain Ncube’s Sobukhazi High School sprinter, also 17 was third in 11.43 seconds.
Ndebele returned to dominate the women’s 200m which she won in 27.07 seconds followed by Northlea’s Rejoice Dlosdlo in 27.07 seconds.
Valencia Sibanda of Masotsha High School was third in 28.36 seconds.
Siwela pinned his rising reputation in the sprints with another victory in the 200m, clinching it in 22.11 seconds, while Ihlosi’s Denis Hove settled for 22.45 seconds in second spot with Denis Mpofu third in 22.86.
Event organiser Manu Mpofu was happy with the turnout.