LEGENDARY long distance runner Abel Chimukoko is not thinking of retiring yet from the sport and has set sights on the Mashwede 10km run scheduled for this weekend in the capital.
The former Olympian who competed at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece in 2004 finishing a commendable top 50 said he is in athletics for the long haul and only the disappearance of his legs can separate him from his passion.
“I will be running as well. I want to inspire the youth. Running is in my blood and will stop running only when I lose my legs,” Chimukoko told the Daily News yesterday.
“My last race was the Mayor’s race in Beitbridge in November last year in the 15km race.
“I am running for fun these days whether I win or lose. I am comfortable with both. What I really want is to show the youth that if you want to last long in sport, be disciplined and do away with performance enhancing substances.”
The 49-year-old has participated in several high profile races during his hey days including the Getafe, Spain 3000m and the Maia (Portugal) 5000m event in July 2001.
He also featured in the Madrid, Spain 10km (March 2002), East London, South Africa 20km (July 2006), Kosice, Slovakia half marathon (October 1997) and Hamburger, Germany marathon (April 2003) among others.
“My greatest achievements came from cross country where I competed in the IAAF cross country series and was ranked fourth overall in the world in 1998. I won many 10km and 21km globally,” he said.
“I joined the marathon late but won gold at Taipei Express Marathon and third at Long Beach Marathon in the US. We ran the greatest races on earth marathon where the Zimbabwe team finished second twice in a row.”
Meanwhile, coordinator of the event Martha Mashamanda is happy with the introduction of the nappy dash, a 50m race for kids between the ages of two and four.
“Nappy dash was conceived from my dream of developing athletes from kids as young as 0 to 4 years. For a long time I had been fascinated by the young athletes in Jamaica then I said to myself why not try it with our own children,” she said.
“The idea is about involving our young African child by tapping into their talents and God-given skills and helping to nurture it to fruition.
“We want to eradicate the mind-set of saying sport is for the affluent and those that have material wealth but it’s for all.”