US-based Zimbabwean triple jump ace Chengetayi Mapaya is one of only three members of the Texas Christian University (TCU) track & field team, who have qualified for the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The prestigious championships attract the crème de la crème of collegiate talent in the US will run from March 11-12 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Mapaya earned the number one seed in the men’s triple jump competition with his NCAA-leading mark of 16.80m.
He has held the top spot in the US since January 29 when he jumped 16.48m at the Texas Tech Open & Multis.
Mapaya is currently ranked number five in the world in the triple jump.
Last season, Mapaya earned the national runner-up spot in the triple jump at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, breaking the long-standing Zimbabwe indoor triple jump record and TCU’s school record in the process.
Mapaya’s best mark of 16.95m on his way to a memorable gold medal broke Ndabazihle Mdhlongwa’s then national indoor triple jump record of 16.85 which had stood since 1998.
The 2019 NCAA outdoor triple jump champion is a seven-time All-American and is well poised to further cement his growing status as the country’s brightest prospects ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics in Alabama next weekend.
After missing out on last year’s Tokyo Olympics due to injury, Mapaya is targeting to not only qualify for major competitions such as the World Athletics Championships but to compete for honours.
“My goals haven’t changed since I started triple jump and that’s to become one of the best triple jumpers in the world and for me to do that I have to compete in the premier competitions such as the World Championships. I want to not only qualify for this year’s World Championships do amazing at the actual event and put my name out there,” he said in an interview with NewsDay recently.
Not done yet 😈🐸
Three Frogs have qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships!
— TCU Track & Field (@TCUTrackField) March 2, 2022
Meanwhile, Mapaya will be accompanied at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship by fellow TCU athletes, Robert Gregory Jr and Grace Anigbata who will compete in the men’s 200m and women’s triple jump respectively.