By Lawrence Trusida
JONATHAN Chinyoka from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) athletics team won the Harare Cross country championships held at Allan Wilson school this Saturday.
The 34-year-old put in an early season marker after romping to victory ahead of the experienced Black Rhinos’ pair of Wellington Varevhi, who was in second position and Millen Matende, who was a close third.
Chinyoka, who is also in camp together with the other Olympic hopefuls preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers set for May, dominated the 10km race from start to finish.
The experienced Chinyoka showed his class and send a warning to his competitors ahead of the Old Mutual 42km race this Sunday.
For Chinyoka the goal is to qualify for the Olympics.
“We are working hard to try and qualify. I am happy to have won, but the main race is tomorrow that will give me a clear picture of where we are ahead of the qualifiers in May,” he said.
In the senior women’s race the script is still the same, Patience Murove of ZPCS remains the woman to beat in a 10km race after she romped to victory in 33 minutes, 46 seconds to claim the gold.
Murove just like her male teammate Chinyoka, led from start to finish, but the major difference was how she decimated her competitors as she led Phoebe Chabhanga, who came in second by more than five minutes.
Sithandiweyinkosi Nkala managed a distance third place to complete the podium positions for the senior women.
In the U20 boys race, Tatenda Gadza scooped the first place in 23 minutes, with Munashe Mundire in second place.
In the girls category Brenda Njodzi impressively won the youth race after crossing the finishing line in a time of 27 minutes 39 seconds.
The 15-year-old was so impressive that had she competed in the senior women’s race, she would have romped to victory five minutes ahead of Murove the eventual winner.
A team of 24 athletes will represent Harare at the national championships slated for Kadoma on the 19th of this month.
Before that all the country’s top athletes will, however, gather at Old Georgians Sports Club as the Old Mutual 42 km race takes centre stage this Sunday.