HARARE – Martin Mbofana’s participation at the World Duathlon Championships hangs in the balance as he battles to secure funding for flights, entry fees and accommodation.
The World Championships will be held in Otouwa, Canada, on August 10 and Zimbabwe’s sole flag bearer is expected to have checked in by August 7 in preparation for the global showcase.
According to the athlete, he requires a total of $3 000 for the trip.
It has never been easy for Mbofana since the country’s leading dual athlete, Rory Mackie, retired from the sport after a harrowing encounter with an elephant ended his career prematurely.
At times, Mbofana has managed to participate in most continental competitions, traveling to the host countries by road.
“After Rory Mackie won the World Champs in 2002 in America, Duathlon took a nose dive until I took it upon myself to try and resuscitate it,” Mbofana told the Daily News yesterday.
“I won the race in Namibia in 2006 and got ZAR 200. I had no single cent to return home and largely depended on winning the race. The following year I went back to Namibia, came second and was given ZAR 400 after which the winner from Namibia gave me an additional ZAR 200 in acknowledgement of the competition I had given him.”
Mbofana is also a marathon runner and veteran of three Comrades Marathon races with this year’s “up run” being his latest appearance.
He finished a distant 653 in 8hrs 24 minutes and received a Bill Rowan medal, which is half silver and half bronze.
“I finished eighth in African Duathlon Champs and after finishing 87km in the Comrades Marathon. I feel that I’m on the right track for a top four finish at the World Champs in Canada,” he said.
“I’m open to have my tri-suit branded by any corporate or individual willing to partner me on this journey, where I’m representing the country.”
Duathlon is a winter sport that falls under triathlon.
Triathlon Association of Zimbabwe president Rick Fulton has written a letter of support to well-wishers wanting to sponsor the dual athlete.
“Martin Mbofana is a registered athlete with the above association (Triathlon Zimbabwe). He recently raced at the African Duathlon Championships in South Africa and has the opportunity to race at the World Duathlon that will be held in Otouwa, Canada on 10 August 2013,”read the letter.
“He is currently raising money to enable him to travel and compete at this event and any assistance will be gratefully accepted. I can be contacted should further verification is required.”