Gabriel Mumvure: The Harare Express
Harare – Only four elite athletes, including the iconic Usain Bolt, have run faster in the 100m this year than Zimbabwean sprinter Gabriel Mumvure.
And the names of those who have done better than him really give you an indication of the class we are talking about here: Bolt, Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Dentarius Locke.
Inevitably, the emergence of an athlete like Mumvure – who shook the Star Athletics Spring Series in Florida, United States some three weeks back – makes the world pause and take notice.
At 25, Mumvure is inching closer to the peak of his athletics powers and if he can repeat, or better his performance in Florida, he could give the elite sprinters of this world a good run for their money soon.
The Zimbabwean sprinter, who spent four years at Louisiana State University, powered to an impressive 9.98 seconds in winning the 100m dash at the Star Athletics Sprint Series.
The field at the Star Athletics Spring series wasn’t a Mickey Mouse one, too, as he beat Olympic Games silver medallist Richard Thompson, World Championship silver medallist Derrick Atkins, and the best sprinter on the United States college circuit right now, Jeff Demps.
Mvumvure’s time in Florida surpassed the “A” qualifying standard of 10.15s for the IAAF World Championships set for Moscow from August 10 to 18 .
But who is Gabriel Mumvure? How has this Churchill High schoolboy suddenly turned into such a world-class sprinter?
In Louisiana they don’t ask such questions because they have followed his progress over the past four years, and believed he would one day make a mark.
“A standout 100m and 200m sprinter during his four-year collegiate career from 2008-11, made a name for himself as one of the stars on LSU's 4x100m relay team,” the official website of the LSU Athletics says about Mamvure.
“Earned three career All-America honours as a member of the sprint relay. Was an impact performer as a freshman in 2008 while helping the Tigers capture their seventh NCAA title all-time in the 4x100m relay while running the third leg in the national final.
“Joined Armanti Hayes, Richard Thompson and Trindon Holliday to run the third-fastest time in programme history with a title-clinching run of 38.42s in the NCAA final, also anchored the Tigers to All-America finishes in both 2010 and 2011, captured one SEC title and two All-SEC honors as a member of the sprint relay”
By the time Mumvure left LSU, he had become one of the top 10 performers for the university in the 60m and 200m sprints.
“(He) also recorded wind-legal PRs (Personal Records) of 10.23s in the 100m and 20.67s in the 200m during his LSU career, was a member of LSU's school record 4x200m relay team that clocked 1 min 20.45s to take the gold at the Texas Relays in 2011. (He) teamed with Keyth Talley, Horatio Williams and Tristan Walker.”
Mumvure represented Zimbabwe at the 13th IAAF World Championships in the 100m and 200m in Daegu, South Korea two years ago.
He had countryman Ngonidzashe Makusha for company in the 100m race, with the latter coming in as one of the leading runners after clocking a sub 9.9s time in one of the races leading to South Korea.
However, Mumvure fell by the wayside in the heats, after his 10.63s meant that he could only rank as 43rd out of 54 athletes. Makusha fared better, clocking 10.31s in the 100m race to place 11th and qualify for the semi-finals.
But there his dream ended, even though he improved to 10.27s, and there was no Zimbabwean in the dramatic final which will forever remembered for the disqualification of pre-race favourite, Bolt, for a false start.
Bolt would win the 200m, where Mumvure again took part, but could not make it beyond the heats as his 21.11 secs was only good enough for 43rd place among the 54 athletes that battled for a place in the final.
Attention turns to Moscow where Mumvure could make a splash.