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Zimbabwe: IAAF Honour Makusha

The Herald (Harare)

Collin Matiza

30 December 2011

IN another seal of approval for his dynamic performances in track and field events on the global scene this year, Zimbabwe’s Ngonidzashe Makusha has been named the top African sprinter of the year by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The IAAF, in its year-end sprints review for the 2011 season, on Thursday named Makusha as the top African 100m runner after his sensational victory at the prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association Outdoor Championships in the United States in June.

Makusha, who is also a long jump specialist, won the US collegiate 100m title in 9.89 seconds and reached the semis of the same event at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in August.

The 24-year-old Zimbabwean athlete, who has just graduated from Florida State University in the United States with a degree in Economics, also won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.

This marked the first time a Zimbabwean athlete had won a medal at the IAAF World Championships.

In Daegu, Makusha came third in the 12-man long jump final behind Dwight Phillips of the United States and Australia’s Mitchell Watt.

Makusha, who missed a bronze medal at the last Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in August 2008 by a whisker in the same event, came good in Daegu, coming third with a good leap of 8.29 metres.

But the IAAF this week decided to name Makusha as the most outstanding African sprinter of the year in recognition of his exploits on the track during this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships at Des Moines in Iowa, United States, in June.

Makusha was the star of the meet in Iowa.

He set a new NCAA record in the 100m dash at 9.89 seconds, just one day after winning the long jump with the best mark (8.40 metres) at the national meet in 18 years.

And after taking this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships by storm when winning both the 100m and long jump titles, Makusha was later named among the three nominees for the top American collegiate track and field award – The Bowerman.

The Bowerman Award is the baby of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and is given to the top collegiate track and field athlete of the year in that country.

And Makusha this month captured this top American collegiate track and field award, which is named after legendary Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, after winning the 100m and long jump titles at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Makusha, who this year was a junior at Florida State University, turned in one of the greatest performances in NCAA Championship history by winning the 100-metre dash in an NCAA record time of 9.89 seconds, while adding the long jump and 4x100m relay championship performances to his haul.

In the 100m, Makusha’s winning time of 9.89 seconds broke Ato Bolden’s collegiate and NCAA meet record of 9.92 seconds set in 1996.

He also soared 8.40 metres to win the long jump event at the same NCAA Outdoor Championships at Des Moines in June this year.

Both the 100m and long jump standards established new national records here in Zimbabwe.

And Makusha was duly rewarded by the IAAF for his outstanding performances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships when they this week named him as the top African sprinter of the year.

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