Rutendo Chimbaru made history last month after becoming the first Zimbabwean runner to qualify for the IAAF Under 20 Championships to be held in Poland this July. The Arundel School student and track captain came in at 55.06 seconds in the 400 m Girls race at the NASH National Championships at Hillcrest College in Mutare on 18 March.
The qualifying time for the IAAF event in Bydgoszcz in the 400 m Girls race is set at 55.25 seconds by the track and field governing body which also requires the timing to be electronic and fully automated. School Sports Network (SSN) was on site at Hillcrest to electronically time the event. Chimbaru stopped the clock at 55.06 seconds.
Over the years, the Arundel student has focused more on the short sprints, 100 m and 200 m, but added the 400 m to her events this year and has made great strides since the beginning of the athletics season. Chimbaru clocked 56.91 seconds at the Prince Edward Sprints in February and bettered that by coming in at 55.84 seconds at Lomagundi College in Chinhoyi last month.
SSN caught up with Silas Muringani, junior development director for the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) at Hillcrest after the event and he couldn’t hide his joy. “I’m elated by the performances of our athletes. Alfred Chawonza, Leon Tafireyi and Rutendo Chimbaru have been the most impressive so far. This competition [NASH National Championships] offers us a platform to select athletes for the various events on the international IAAF Calendar.” Muringani went on to explain that most of the athletes that are doing well are training all year round in order to better their times and distances.
SSN’s electronic timing equipment, manufactured in the USA by Finish Lynx System Developers, is approved by the IAAF for use in competitions conducted under IAAF rules and regulations.
Image: Rutendo Chimbaru qualified last month to represent Zimbabwe at the IAAF champions in Poland this July
Image Credit: Schools Sport Network