HARARE – Zimbabwe marathon runner Rutendo Nyahora is under no illusion at the weight of expectation as she makes her first appearance at the IAAF World Championships that began yesterday in London.
Nyahora is part of a five-member Zimbabwe team of marathon runners that is in London to compete in the championships.
The men’s marathon will get underway at 10:55am tomorrow, with the women’s marathon runners setting off later in the day at 2pm.
The South Africa-based athlete, who rose to prominence in 10-kilometre races before morphing into a runner of repute in the longer version of the race, was part of the Zimbabwe contingent at the Beijing Olympic Games two years ago.
She finished at the tail end of that race with a time of 2 hours 47 minutes but believes hard lessons learnt in those Summer Games have transformed her into a complete athlete.
While the rest of the globe’s attention at this World Championship will be centred on sprinting legend Usain Bolt’s swansong, Nyahora is confident of a good outing.
“This time the conditions and momentum is obviously different,” Nyahora told the Daily News from London yesterday.
“Rio was my first big race and I admit it was a disaster. But that’s behind me now. I am happy, injury free and ready to go.
“It’s a bit cold here in London and I am hoping that it won’t be too hot on Sunday when I race. I am looking forward to a good race.”
Nyahora will also be joined by compatriot Fortunate Chidzivo in the women’s marathon while Cuthbert Nyasango, Pardon Ndlovu and Millen Matende take part in the men’s race.
Nyasango is making his second consecutive appearance at the IAAF World Championships.
The Nyanga-born long distance runner was part of the Zimbabwe contingent at the Beijing Olympic Games two years ago, finishing 23rd.
The 35-year-old finished seventh at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Ndlovu, who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and placed 41st, is also expected to be among Zimbabwe’s top contenders and is relishing the opportunity to compete with the world’s best.
“I am grateful to the people that have helped get me where I am today,” Ndlovu said in a video he posted on Instagram yesterday.
“I am having a great time in London and enjoying the city but I can’t wait to see what happens when I put on my Zimbabwean jersey and explore the city with some of the best athletes in the world.”