Churchill High School old boy, track and field star Ngonidzashe Makusha is confident of winning a medal at the 2014 World Indoor Championships starting tomorrow in Sopot, Poland .
Makusha qualified for the IAAF World Indoor Championships after recording his third win of the season in Sweden last month. His winning long jump easily surpassed the IAAF World Indoor Championships qualifying mark of 8.18 metres.
Having struggled to return to his best last year, after suffering a serious injury just before the outdoor championships in Russia, Makusha is confident of securing a podium finish in Poland this year.
“I’m very happy and relieved that I have finally qualified for the World Indoor Championships,” said Makusha, “I want to go to the 2014 World Indoor Championships, do well there and be on the podium.”
Makusha’s win in Sweden came off the back of a third place finish at the Russian Winter indoor meeting in Moscow on 2 February and consecutive victories in Bordeaux, France (29 January) and at the UAB Blazer Invitational in the US (18 January).
The 27-year-old national 100m and long jump record holder’s win saw him upstage home favourite Michel Torneus from Sweden, whose best mark measured four centimeters shorter.
After three wins in a row at this meeting, Torneus had to be content with second place. Panama’s 2008 Olympic champion was third with 8.11metres, which according to IAAF was his best indoor mark for six years.
Makusha said he was happy with the competition he faced in Sweden. “Competition was really good. I was up against a very strong line up from top to bottom and the crowd was awesome. With that in place I had to bring my A game and I’m glad I managed to do that,” he said.
Ostensibly on the cusp of a special career, injury cruelly struck in May 2012. The Florida-based Makusha ruptured an Achilles tendon during a routine training session, leaving his Olympic dreams in tatters. Then another injury prevented him from competing at the 2013 World Championships in Russia.
Makusha said he was disappointed by his untimely injury. “It was very devastating, but I’m a spiritual guy and I believe everything happens for a reason,” he says. “I just had to accept it, get the problem fixed and move on.”
“Last season I was just getting my body used to working up the muscles I hadn’t used in a while,” says Makusha, who is coached by former Zimbabwean Olympic hurdler Ken Harnden for the sprints and American Dennis Nobles for the long jump. “Training has been great, I’m in a good place.”
In 2011 Makusha emerged as one of the world’s most exciting talents with a spectacular double at the NCAA Championships.
Makusha evoked memories of the legendary Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens when he competed in the NCAA 100m and long jump double. He did so with national records of 9.89s for the 100m and 8.40m for the long jump, and then took bronze at the Daegu 2011 World Championships.
The Harare-born 2011 world bronze medalist qualified for the prestigious championships after leaping to a season’s best 8.18m on his way to an impressive win at the XL Galan IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting held in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.