ZIMBABWEAN track and field star Brian Mada continues to make steady progress since his move to DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois on an athletics scholarship after being named the Big East Men’s Field Athlete of the Week in recognition of his brilliant individual performances.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The latest recognition came after Mada’s strong performances in the triple jump and long jump last week at the Joey Haines Invitational in Southeast Missouri, which enhances his growing status as one of the country’s bright prospects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 20-year-old rising star highlighted the weekend by adding almost 0,30m to his triple jump mark on the season with a mark of 14,92m. The sophomore placed third overall in the event with that performance and improved on his lead in the Big East.
Although he is yet to reach his peak, Mada, who has a personal best jump of 15,65m that he recorded on his way to a memorable gold medal at the 2014 Region V Games in Bulawayo, now sits 29th in the region and 67th nationally in the event.
The sophomore added a personal best in the long jump to cap his weekend after claiming fifth place with a jump of 6,94m. That jump ranks fourth in the conference this season.
Mada, formerly of St Faith’s Mission in Rusape, represented Zimbabwe several times during his high school days, including winning a silver medal at the African Junior Athletics Championships in March 2015.
Mada was last year awarded a scholarship to study economics at the Chicago university following his performance at the All-Africa Junior Champion Games in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In his maiden season, Mada competed in 12 events both indoor and outdoors, winning an impressive six times in the triple jump, including titles at the Notre Dame Invitational, the Hoosier Hills Invitational, ISU Pacesetter Invite and the Big East Indoor Champion and setting two career bests.
The major surprise of his impressive season came when he finished second in the long Jump at the Big East Indoor Championship with a distance of 7,17m which came as a surprise as he is known predominantly as a triple jumper.
His performances earned him praises from his coach, Dave Dopek, who reckons he has a bright future ahead of him in the sport.
“Brian is a very talented young man from Zimbabwe,” DePaul University head track and field coach, Dopek said.
“While the triple jump is his specialty, I look forward to seeing him improve [in both jumps], as he acclimates himself to how we practise and compete here.
“With his tremendous upside, I believe that Brian is capable of having a very special season.”