Chadenga gets outdoor season off to flying start

Kudakwashe Chadenga

Rising high jump star Kudakwashe Chadenga made a flying start to his outdoor season with South Plains College after shattering Zimbabwe’s 23-year-old high jump record at the Wes Kittley Invitational in Abilene, Texas over the weekend.

Fresh from a triumphant indoor season in which he broke several records and won almost everything on offer, Chadenga continued his phenomenal rise by clearing 2.22m at Elmer Gray Stadium.

In the process, the 19-year-old former Prince Edward School pupil comfortably broke the previous national high jump outdoor record of 2.16 set by Juma Phiri on July 11, 1999, in Harare.

Phiri’s previous national outdoor record has been standing for the past two decades and was only equalled by Mieguery Kwenda in 2019.

Chadenga’s record-breaking performance ensured he began the outdoor season with a victory while his South Plains College teammate Davyon Williams was second in the high jump, getting over the bar with a new PR at 2.17m.

His other teammate Thomas Nieto took first position in the men’s pole vault.

“Kuda moved inside the top five all-time, and Thomas now has the third top mark in junior college all-time, and they just kind of keep rolling,” South Plains head coach Erik Vance said.

Chadenga is currently the reigning National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Indoor Champion and will be looking to add the outdoor title after his impressive start at the weekend.

During the indoor portion of the season, the Zimbabwean, who is still a freshman at South Plains cleared 2.20m at the Charlie Thomas Invitational on February 5 to break the previous national indoor high jump record of 2.16m set by George Maringapasi on January 15, 2000, in New York.

A week later Chadenga returned to break his own week-long Zimbabwe high jump record with a best jump of 2.22m at the Texas Tech Shootout at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center.

Chadenga who is currently ranked first in Africa and fourth in the world in the high Jump event for the 2022 season is a strong favourite to qualify for the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon in July.



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