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Legendary Olympian living in poverty

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

Poverty has forced 74-year-old Robson Mulombe, the country’s first black athlete to compete in the Olympics, to turn to fish poaching in the Kariba Dam to fend for his family.

Robson Mulombe
Robson Mulombe

Mulombe was part of the 1964 team that represented Southern Rhodesia at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, where he competed in the marathon.

Fifty-five years later, Mulombe is now destitute in Binga district.

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He told Chronicle Sport that he was now playing hide and seek with authorities to fend for his family.

“I am now surviving on fishing in the nearby Kariba Dam which is illegal because I don’t have a fishing permit to do that.

“If I get caught I will obviously be arrested because that is poaching, but I am starving, I need to survive and also look after my family,” said Mulombe.

“If maybe the Government can assist me with a fishing boat and permit then I would be grateful because then I will be fishing legally without any fear of being arrested. It’s a tough life, but there is nothing I can do”.

He said he sometimes goes for more than two days without food, especially when there is a heavy presence of rangers within the area.

“It’s not an easy life, but one which I must face. It’s going to be even worse this time around because of lack of rain,” said Mulombe.

Organisers of the Binga Marathon said they will approach the Binga Rural District Council (RDC) to request for a fishing permit for the legendary Olympian. The Chronicle