ZIMBABWE’S sole female Olympic representative in athletics, Rutendo Nyahora, believes her time to shine on the global stage has come. Nyahora, a half-marathon specialist who has dominated in Zimbabwe and South African in recent years, switched to the longer version at Vienna, Austria on April 10 and got instant results. By Langton Nyakwenda
She secured qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games with a time of 2:39:58 seconds at the Vienna City Marathon.
The 27-year-old wife of retired long distance star Lewis Masunda has been working hard in the run-up to the Rio Games and spoke of her delight on the sidelines of a send-off banquet in Harare last Wednesday.
“I am so happy, I think now is the time for Rutendo to shine on the world stage. It is now backwards never and forwards ever,” declared Nyahora.
“I am so excited to be going to Rio de Janeiro and represent my country. I am not going there as Rutendo but as a Zimbabwean. I promise I will not let the nation down.”
Zimbabwe is yet to win an Olympic medal in the marathon and the closest the nation came to glory was in 2012 when Cuthbert Nyasango finished seventh at the London Games.
The 33-year-old Nyasango is also in the 2016 team together with the duo of Wirimai Juwawo and Pardon Ndlovu.
Nyahora said she has been getting tips from her husband.
“Lewis knows a lot about long distance running, he has seen it all before and has been helping me out with some tips.
He is a very supportive husband and I hope I will not disappoint him in Rio,” she said.
Nyahora is arguably the best female long-distance runner in Zimbabwe at the moment, having won virtually all the top local races over the past three years.