Zimbabwean track and field star Gabriel Mvumvure is confident of putting on a good show at the 2013 IAAF World Championships to be held in Moscow, Russia from 10-18 August.
The former Churchill Boys High student and protégé at Harare-based World Wide Scholarships (WWS) Athletics Club is undoubtedly the country’s leading track and field athlete on the global stage at the moment.
Mvumvure will be the country’s sole medal hope at the games after the country’s other track and field star; Ngonidzashe Makusha withdrew from the Championships at the eleventh hour because of injury concerns. The 26 year-old Florida-based Makusha won Zimbabwe’s first ever IAAF World Championships medal by scooping a bronze medal in the long jump competition at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. He will however not defend his medal after failing to fully recover from an injury scare at the recent IAAF Paris Diamond League meet in France.
In the absence of Makusha, Zimbabwe will pin their hopes on Mvumvure, another rising prospect on the international circuit. Mvumvure, who is also based in the US, said he was looking forward to World Championships.
“I think that in terms of fitness I’m in the best shape than I have ever been in my career so far. I am happy I qualified for the 100m and am trying for an additional ‘A’ standard for the 200m race. I enjoy competing in both races,” said Mvumvure.
The former Louisiana University student has put himself firmly in contention after a blistering start to the season. Mvumvure clocked an impressive 9.98 seconds when winning the men’s 100m event at the Star Athletics Sprint Series in Florida, United States on 8 June to become the only African sprinter to run the 100m inside ten seconds this year.
The field at the Star Athletics Spring series included former Olympic Games silver medallist Richard Thompson, World Championship silver medallist Derrick Atkins, and the best sprinter on the United States college circuit right now, Jeff Demps.
His winning time easily surpassed the “A” standard of 10.15 seconds for the World Championships and confirmed his place among the best sprinters in the world at the moment. It was the eighth quickest 100m time run in 2013 behind six-time Olympic medalist Usain Bolt’s world leading time of 9.85 seconds he posted at the Anniversary Games in London on 27 July to beat his previous season’s best time of 9.94 seconds.
Other athletes who have run faster than Mvumvure this year include American Tyson Gay (9.75sec) and the Jamaican duo of Nesta Carter (9.87) and Asafa Powell (9.880, American Justin Gatlin (9.89), Great Britain’s James Dasaolu (9.91) and France’s Jimmy Vicaut (9.95). Gay and Powell are however out of contention for the World Championships after recently failing doping tests.
Mvumvure is one of the success stories of a Harare-based development program called World Wide Scholarships, which says it has placed about 150 athletes in American universities in sports like track, tennis, soccer and field hockey.