One wonders what is running through 17 year old sprinter Michael Songore’s head tonight as he lays his head on a pillow in Eugene, Oregon. Tomorrow(today for Zim time) he awakes to face some of his fastest peers in the world to represent Zimbabwe in Heat 5 of the 200m race at the biannual IAAF World Junior Championships. Songore’s race will be broadcast live on SuperSport 2 at 7.45 pm Zimbabwe time (10.45 am Pacific Standard Time).
Already, some of Zimbabwe’s track past and present professional athletes are pledging their support for Zimbabwe’s newest bright light on the track. Sprinter Gabriel Mvumvure wrote on Twitter “All the best.. Just do what got you there!” And Olympian sprinter Brian Dzingai, who came fourth in the 200m with a time of 20,17 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics simply tweeted @michaelsongore “#supportthekid”
— Gabriel Mvumvure (@GabrielMvumvure) July 23, 2014
Songore, an Upper Six student preparing for his A level exams at Peterhouse Boys, is no stranger to international competition. Last year he represented Zimbabwe in Donetsk, Ukraine at the 8th IAAF World Youth Championships making the semi-finals of both the 100m and 200m races, clocking a 10.72 personal best in the 100m dash and a 21,86 in the 200m. Earlier this year, after convincingly winning both the 100m and 200m on home turf at Peterhouse during the National Youth Championships, Songore travelled to represent Zimbabwe in the Africa Youth Games in Gabarone, Botswana in May where he clocked a 21.34 for the 200m, beating the 21,50 qualifying standard for the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Songore is part of a five person Zimbabwe team in Oregon this week. Team-mate Pride Lusinga ran a commendable 54,25 sec 400m hurdle race on Wednesday, coming fifth in his heat of seven in rainy conditions. Fifteen year old Enlitha Ncube will be the youngest in a field of 31 girls to run the 1500m on Friday. Songore anchors a 4x100m relay team rounded off by Lusinga, Kudakwashe Nyahuma and Shingirayi Hlangayo in heats on Friday as well.
Should Songore qualify from his 200m heat tomorrow, he will progress to the semi-final round which will be broadcast live at 3.40 am Zimbabwe time on Friday, July 25. Songore aspires to study in the United States on a Division 1 track scholarship. No doubt there are U.S. coaches, as well as a nation ready to claim some athletic pride, who will be watching his race tomorrow.