IT is not every day that a multi-talented sportsperson emerges in any country, but when they do so, their appearance is often a grand explosion.
Report by Michael Madyira
The US used to revel in the glory of Babe Didrikson, once considered the greatest female athlete of all time after sterling shows in basketball and two-track and field gold medals at the 1932 Olympics before succumbing to cancer at the age of 42.
She had also won 41 Ladies Professional Golf Association titles.
Currently, New Zealanders are basking in the magnificence of their national sporting icon, Sonny Bill Williams, a fearsome reigning heavyweight boxing champion, who is also a 2011 Rugby World Cup winning star.
Zimbabwe also has its fair share of multi-sport athletes. Youngsters, Matthew Lawson and Luke Masasire, are currently standing tall for Zimbabwe while fighting national battles in various sporting fronts.
The duo was part of the Young Sables team which competed in the 2012 Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Championships that ended yesterday at Prince Edward School.
Before them, Mamelodi Sundowns striker, Nyasha Mushekwi, served the country in basketball and football, while former Highlanders and Pretoria University striker, Nqobile Mpala, represented Zimbabwe at the 2005 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy (JRWT) in South Africa.
After participating at last year’s JRWT in Russia, Dynamos rookie forward, Farai Mupasiri, recently opted to focus on football.
However, Lawson’s performance in his chosen disciplines has been phenomenal as having represented Zimbabwe in swimming and water polo on the international circuit, while just two weeks ago, Masasire was at the Under-19 cricket World Cup in Australia.
After making his swimming debut for Zimbabwe at the South African National Championships as a 12-year-old in 2005, where he scooped four gold medals, Lawson now counts 16 more gold in national colours.
A 200 and 400m freestyle specialist, who has featured for all national rugby junior teams, Lawson also did motocross until he was seven-years-old, although he only competed locally.
With All-Blacks wing, Williams, preparing to trade leather with South Africa’s Francois Botha in a blockbuster bout later this year, Lawson is still undecided on which route to take.
He faces a dilemma of balancing hugely contrasting sports — rugby and aquatic disciplines; swimming and water polo, where size matters most. His rugby position as a lock, demands more time in the gym to weigh 100kg, but he has to shed 20kg for the aquatic sports.
“I am not too sure about which discipline to fully concentrate on. But swimming is my number one love. I have been swimming since the age of four,” said Lawson, whose last water polo competition was with the Zimbabwe Under-19 team in South Africa last year.
“But at the end of the day, nothing beats the feeling of representing your country. It is all about sacrifising for the flag.”