DYNAMITE comes in small packages.
REPORT BY BRIAN NKIWANE
One would start believing this old saying when they meet Michael Songore, the new sprint king that has been born in Zimbabwe.
With full support, the boy is poised for greater heights and has the potential to win medals for the country.
At 16, Songore — a form five student at Peterhouse — aims to win gold medals at the next Olympic Games in Brazil, setting new world records in the process in his favourite races, the 100m, 200m and 400m.
Clad in his Peterhouse school uniform — a white shirt, blue jacket complemented by a blue tie and a Zimbabwean flag — Songore was dosing during the interview, which he blamed on fatigue.
“I arrived here yesterday evening [Tuesday night] from Gaborone, Botswana where we were representing the country in the Southern Region Championships. I did not have time to rest,” he said.
Songore was part of the 22-member team but failed to perform to expectations.
“I was participating in the senior categories as my coach is always saying I have no challenge in my junior category.
I did not run the 100m race but took part in the 200m race where I finished third in the heats and seventh in the finals. I had gone there to try and improve on my times,” he added.
Only two weeks ago, Songore made headlines in local newspapers when he unofficially broke the 200m world junior records at the National Sports Stadium during the Zimbabwe Inter Provincials competition.
Songore ran a record time of 20,93 shattering the world record of 20,99 which was set by the fast youth athlete for this year, Paul Lukas of US.
Songore beat some of the respected athletes in this country during the race, that include 400m record holder Dumisani Bhebhe who ran a time of 46,93 when he was preparing for the Singapore Championships in 2010.
The Botswana trip last week was his third foreign one after representing Zimbabwe in the Cosasa Games in the same country. He took part in the 100m and 200m races, winning bronze medals in both races.
He was also part of Team Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium during the Southern Region Junior Championships last year where he won a bronze medal in the 200m race before coming fourth in the 100m race.
Songore also travelled to Zambia for the Zone Six Games but missed on medals.
He did not give up as he was part of the Cosasa team this year in April where he won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m races and another gold in the medley relay.
“I think it was during this year’s schools events at St Georges that I discovered my potential. I ran good times of 10,7 for the 100m and 50,1 for the 400m races. I then told myself that I had to prioritise athletics.”
But how did it all start for him?
“I used to be good at chasing chickens at home. I told myself that when I grow up I wanted to be an athlete. From there I used to run long distances, the 400 and the 800m races. That is when I discovered that my 800m time was actually declining.
So I decided to try sprints which then led me to drop the 800m race to concentrate on sprints,” he said.
Songore started doing his three sprint races until he discovered that his 400m was again declining, forcing him to drop it.
“From that time I then realised that I needed something that would motivate me. I now watch videos before I go for any form of training for motivation. Obviously I watch people like Usain Bolt and other renowned athletes out there. But I have since re-adopted my 400m race.”
The Peterhouse first team rugby player added that he has been balancing his school time and sports.
“You have to be disciplined in terms of budgeting time.
Songore speaks on his dish
My father is a teacher here so at times he helps me portion my time. I have to do athletics, rugby as well as my school work, but of late I have been managing well,” he added.
Born in a family of five, Songore is the first born. He attended Springvale Primary School in Marondera before enrolling at Peterhouse for his secondary education.
In conclusion, Songore spoke about his dish, which he feels has to be managed well.
“As an athlete, you need food with carbohydrates that would give you the much-needed energy. No fats at all because you will end up failing to maintain your body. I take pasta very much and other supplements as well.”