By Tinashe Kusema
These days Tinotenda Matiyenga spends most of his time in the training room at Texas Christian University, working on his cardio, stretching and running a few laps on the treadmill.
“It has become like my second home. I’m there most of the time, whether it be before and after training or in-between lessons,” said the United States based athlete.
“There are so many things to do in the US, but I have never been one for the party scene, or much of an outgoing person.
“I’m here for two reasons; and that is further my studies and launch my athletics career,” he said.
Now a sophomore at the university; the 20-year-old was at one time primed to be the king of sprints and central figure in Zimbabwe’s 4X100 relay team headed by famed coach David Tinago.
“He never ran with us, but trained with the guys,” said team manager Nyasha Muchochomi.
“The hope was that he would become part of the relay team, but funding was an issue so we decided to use local guys who needed the exposure more.
“It so happened, that was round about the time his scholarship offer came and we did not want to disturb his studies,” he said. Matiyenga remains a bright prospect in the United States Collegiate Athletics Circuit and is currently 340th and 151st in the world in the 100 and 200 meter races respectively. A modest existence, as it may seem. Well, not for the former Prince Edward High School student.
“I have no regrets about how things have turned out, in fact given the chance to go back in time I would make the same decision and move to the US,” said Matiyenga.
“David Tinago is the reason I am where I am today, having started training under him when I was still in school at Prince Edward.I owe him a lot.
“That said, I still believe that moving to the United States was the right decision, and for two main reasons.
“Firstly, the field here is highly competitive and the facilities are top of the range, so it made sense to move and also I have been raised by a single mother and at the time the scholarship came it was getting very costly for my mum to continue supporting and sponsoring me,” he said.
Matiyenga, however, says he has kept in touch with the team and celebrates their every achievement.
He still feels part of the team.
“I am in constant touch with Ngoni (Makusha) and coach David (Tinago), and was very happy and proud of them when they broke the national record in Botswana.
“Like I always say, ‘records are there to be broken’, and still very much believe there is still gas in the tank for this team.
“More records will be broken.
“As for me, I have my eye on the ball and hope to see them at both the World Championships and the Olympics next year,” he said.
The team has had the best of starts to the year with Makusha (16), Tsumba (75) and Matiyenga (75) all ranked in the in the top 100. Sunday Mail.