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‘I could have done well at 1964 Olympics’

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

The country’s first black athlete to participate in the Olympics, Robson Mulombe, believes he could have finished in the top 10 or even got a medal in the 1964 Games in Tokyo, Japan, had he not suffered from a cramp during the marathon.

Robson Mulombe
Robson Mulombe

Having gone to the Games with a personal best time of 2 hours 18 minutes 53.7 seconds, the then 19-year-old Mulombe had the misfortune of being struck by a cramp during the race, which saw him eventually finish 56th in a time of 2 hours 49 minutes 30.8 seconds in a race that was won by Ethiopian Abebe Bikila in a then world record time of 2 hours 12 minutes 11.2 seconds.

In an exclusive interview with Chronicle Sport on the sidelines of the Binga Marathon on Saturday, Mulombe said the cramp misfortune prevented him from bringing the country’s first Olympic medal.

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“I would have done well, but unfortunately I was hit by a cramp and lost a considerable amount of time. Despite that, I was still able to finish the race, but my time wasn’t that good,” said the Binga-based former Wankie Athletics Club athlete.

He also gave a motivational speech to the athletes and spectators.

“You need to train hard every day. As you can see I am still fit at my age. I am 74-years-old, but once in a while I jog and I encourage you to do like wise; practise makes perfect,” he said in his speech.

Earlier on, he told Chronicle Sport that he used to run to 100km from Hwange to Victoria Falls as part of his training regime.

“Sometimes my running mates would come short and be carried along the way by cars, but I would still catch up with them,” said Mulombe.

At the 1964 Olympics, Mulombe was one of the 5 151 athletes from 93 countries that participated in the Games. The Chronicle