Mehluli Sibanda, senior sports journalist
Promising long-distance runner Faith Nyathi of Plumtree was given the perfect opportunity to prepare for the 2024 Olympics after receiving a track and field scholarship in the United States of America.
Nyathi, 21, a 5,000m and 10,000m specialist, arrived in the United States yesterday to take up her scholarship at El Paso Community College before heading to Louisiana Monroe University.
Nyathi did his A-Level at Nketa High School in Bulawayo and was a member of the City Meats Athletics Club sponsored by Bongani Ndlovu, the owner of City Meats Butchery.
Former South African runner Costa Takawira helped secure the scholarship for Nyathi with the help of fellow former US-based long-distance runner Philemon Hanneck.
Hanneck represented Zimbabwe at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 before acquiring US citizenship in 1999.
Obtaining a scholarship for Nyathi is part of Takawira’s goal of empowering most young female athletes with the potential to excel academically and in sport through his Costa Takawira Mangwende Foundation, which he established in 2015.
“We are educating girls and empowering the nation with an 80% focus on girls and 20% on boys. I am assisted by Hanneck, a former Olympian now based in America. He makes sure they have accommodation, food and clothing when they land in the United States, ”Takawira said.
It is certain that Nyathi will not disappoint in the United States, but will become w “I know Faith is going to make us proud. There is a former athlete based in Bulawayo who I told I was looking for an athlete and he identified Faith so I’m sure she will do well, ”he said.
Another grant recipient, Kelvin Chiku, from Marondera is already in the United States.
Chiku will begin reading for an associate’s degree before enrolling at the University of Louisiana Monroe.
Bradley Makuvire, who also received a similar scholarship in 2019, completed his studies at El Paso and is now at the University of Louisiana Monroe.
Takawira said four more scholarship recipients would leave at the end of the year.
Three female athletes travel to the United States, while a boy heads to Germany. – @ Mdawini_29