The 24-year-old Makusha who cut his teeth at Mandedza High School in Seke became the 78th member to be inducted into the Supermen club after winning the 100m dash at the NCAA championships last Friday. He clocked 9.89 seconds.
Makusha is now ranked the fourth fastest men in the world in the 100m sprint. Leading the ranking is USA’s Tyson Gay who clocked 9.79 seconds at the NTC Sprint in Clermont, Florida on June 4. Makusha beat athletics phenomenon Usain Bolt’s to the fourth position on the 100m ranking. Bolt clocked 9.91 seconds at the Golden Gala in Roma on May 26 and is ranked in fifth position.
What is particularly impressive about Makusha’s performance is that he is a known long jumper who went to the United States on athletics scholarship due to that talent. He has been studying at the Florida State University since 2007 and it was only this year that he tried his feet in the 100m dash.
Makusha joins the exclusive sub 10-second runners in the 100m dash. Before 2008 there were 56 members in the “Sub-10 Club.” Now there are 78 and in the last four years most new members have come from Jamaica and the USA — both with eight, starting with Bolt who ran his first sub-10 in Kingston on May 3 2008. There were a total of 10 new members in 2008 – another record.
Three sprinters broke the barrier for the first time in 2009; another five in 2010 and in this season there are four new members including Makusha and Jamaican Steve Mullings with 9.90 on 16 April in Starkville.
In 2008, 14 sprinters broke that barrier a total of 53 times. Both figures were records for a calendar year, breaking the previous ones: 11 sub-10 performers in 2002 and 38 sub-10 performances in 1997.
Not a single Zimbabwean athlete had managed to break the sub-10 barrier, until Makusha came onto the scene this year.
Nineteen countries are represented in the Supermen club: USA has 35 members, Jamaica 11, Nigeria 7, Trinidad and Tobago 5, Great Britain 3, Canada, France and Ghana 2, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Namibia, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, St Kitts & Nevis and Zimbabwe each has one member.
Makusha’s coach Ken Hardnen told Standardsport that the athlete who is set to graduate with a degree majoring in applied economics in December, was a medal hopeful at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I believe he has a very good chance to get a medal in London, he has to be healthy, lucky, work hard and have God on his side,” Hardnen said.
Hardnen represented Zimbabwe at the Commonwealth Games and is currently employed at Florida State University were Makusha is on an athletics scholarship.
Hardnen said there was nothing unusual about Makusha switching from long jump to sprinting. Makusha represented Zimbabwe in long jump at the 2008 Olympic Games and came in fourth position.
“Ngoni is still a long jumper first and a sprinter second, it’s not a change so much as he is just healthy and injury-free so we have been able to sprint more this season.
“We always knew he was very fast, and now he has had a chance to train at a high level, he gets to workout every day with his team mates like Maurice Mitchell who was third in the 100m (at the NCAA championships) and won the 200m. The other guys on the relay and also learn from more experienced guys like Brian Dzingai, who trains with us and is a volunteer coach at FSU (Florida State University),” he said.
The chunky (1,78m, 73kg) Makusha attributes his success to Hardnen.
“My coach (Ken Hardnen) preaches to me every day to run my own race and never look to the side,” Makusha said. “He tells me to just stay patient and drive and kick towards the end. I did that and it paid off. I owe that to my coach”.