BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Annual National Sports Awards (ANSA) Sportsperson of the Year, mixed martial artist Themba Gorimbo, says he does not care about recognition after he won Zimbabwe’s biggest individual sport award at a glittering ceremony in Harare last week.
Gorimbo, who was also voted the 2019 Sportsman of the Year, shrugged off competition from Regina Jonga, who emerged as Sportswoman of the Year, for the ultimate prize.
The Undisputed Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) welterweight champion walked away with $200 000 and a floating trophy.
“I feel normal. I knew I was going to win it. I am a winner and I knew I was going to win it. I work hard and I am going to work extra hard. Success is good and it motivates me and I want to feel like this forever,” Gorimbo said on the sidelines of the ANSA held at Manna Resorts on Wednesday night.
Gorimbo, who has flown the country’s flag in South Africa with distinction, says he would rather inspire people than to get this kind of recognition.
“Recognition is fine, but what I am here to do is to inspire people. I don’t care about being recognised and stuff like that. It’s good and I am enjoying it today, but tomorrow morning I have to start working.
“Recognition will always come, but I am here to inspire people that if you work hard and you are crazy enough to believe in yourself, nothing is impossible,” he said.
The athlete — popularly known as ‘The Answer’ — made history in September last year when he became the first-ever EFC Mixed Martial Arts champion from Zimbabwe.
It was after he defeated Luke Michael at Carnival City in Johannesburg.
‘The Answer’ is targeting breaking into the money-spinning Ultimate Fighting Champions (UFC), which is the largest mixed martial arts promotion company in the world and features on its roster the highest-level fighters in the sport.
Gorimbo was denied a chance last year and he is looking to hit the jackpot this year.
“I have got a chip on my shoulder, that’s why I have to work hard. I was supposed to join the UFC in December and they said to me that they opted for a Korean guy instead of me.
“I am probably one of the top athletes in Africa, but I was denied by the UFC in December so it’s hard when you come from Africa. These guys have four fights and they get to the UFC and here you have to get to 10, but when I get there they will take notice,” he said.
“So I have to defend my title now. Like I said, I will win, I don’t even see myself as defending my title. I need to go out there and finish this guy. UFC know about me and after this fight they can’t deny me. End of next year I will be a UFC champion,” Gorimbo said.
The Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year is set to defend his title for the first time against the undefeated master of mayhem Lyle Karam when the EFC 84 kick-off the 2020 season on March 14 at Time Square, Pretoria.
The athlete revealed that he would for the next four years before calling it quits to spend time with his family.
“I have been putting my family on hold. I have to do this for the next four years. I come home at night and leave early in the morning every day. I don’t live a normal life
“I have a point to prove but to myself that I am the best in the world,” he said.