Zimbabwean athletes seal 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field awards hattrick 

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High jump star Kudakwashe Chadenga, sprinter Tapiwanashe Makarawu and middle distance runner Privilege Chikara

Zimbabwean track and field athletes dominated the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Indoor Track & Field National Awards in the US, winning three of the four postseason awards announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday.

The USTFCCCA honoured athletes who excelled during the just-ended indoor season following the conclusion of the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which were held last weekend at the Washburn Indoor Athletic Facility in Topeka, Kansas.

Zimbabwe was well represented on the winners’ list with three winners, Kudakwashe Chadenga, Privilege Chikara and Tapiwanashe Makarawu, as the country’s future stars continue to make an impact in the US.

Rising high jump star Chadenga headlines the list after he was named the National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year for the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field season.

Kudakwashe Chadenga

Chadenga, who is in his second season at South Plains College in Tezas, equalled the NJCAA indoor record in the high jump with a new Zimbabwe national record 2.26m clearance at the Corky Classic in January.

He culminated his campaign with a national title at the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Topeka, Kansas, at 2.23m – just one of his five clearances at that height or higher this winter as no other NJCAA athlete has ever had more than one in a single season.

Sprinter Makarawu, who is on a scholarship at New Mexico Junior College was named the National Men’s Track Athlete of the Year for the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field season.

Tapiwanashe Carlie Makarawu

Makarawu, who represented Zimbabwe at the World Athletics U18 Youth Championships in Kenya five years ago, was a double winner at the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Kansas.

He won the 60 meters in a seasonal-best 6.63 seconds and the 200 in 20.51 seconds, then split 45.45 – fastest of the meet – on the second leg of the New Mexico Junior College’s 4×400 relay, which finished second in 3:07.26 in becoming the No. 2 program all-time.

His 200 time of 20.51 was the No. 3 performance in NJCAA history, just behind his seasonal best of 20.47 that rates him No. 2 all-time.

Another Zimbabwean award winner on Wednesday was middle-distance runner Chikara, who was named the National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.

Privilege Chikara

Chikara, who only arrived in the US two months ago on a track and field scholarship at Meridian Community College in Mississippi, won the 800 and mile at the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Championships.

She clocked NJCAA-leading times in both events – 2:12.73 in the 800 and 5:00.11 in the mile.

Entering the NJCAA Indoor Championships, Chikara ranked No. 4 in both events at 2:16.10 and 5:09.15, respectively.

Zimbabwe was unlucky to miss out on a clean sweep after Vimbayi Maisvoreva was also in the running for an award after winning the women’s 400 metres title at the weekend.

The former Hillcrest College student, who is on a scholarship at Cloud County Community College in Kansas clinched the 400m title in an impressive time of 53.50 seconds which made her number three all-time in NJCAA history.

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