Dzingai: I Didn’t Embarrass

THIS week Zimbabwe’s Olympic Games 200m sprint finalist Brian Dzingai, from his base in the US, tells Enock Muchinjo (EM) about his recent World Championships performance in Germany, running alongside Usain Bolt and retirement plans.

EM: What do you make of your performance in the World Championships? Was it as bad as some media reports suggested?

BD: I was disappointed with my performance at the World Championships. I am an elite level athlete and anytime I do not make it beyond the quarter-finals and into the semis, it is a huge disappointment. That is the standard by which I judge myself by.  However, I suffered an injury in mid June. Unfortunately I could not recover on time. It’s a pity because my early season form was the best ever in my career and I know I would have peaked at the right time. Injuries are part of the business and you have to deal with whatever obstacles which come your way and come back stronger. Such is my mindset.
The press is free to report as it wishes but more factual reports would be appreciated. Inaccurate information is disheartening. One such example is my supposedly “embarrassing false start”, which wasn’t a false start, but was that I merely raised my hand as the starter had called for the set position before I was ready. To call my performance “embarrassing” is somewhat disheartening.

EM: How is the off-season?

BD: It’s a five-week break of complete rest from any physical activity. However, I am also taking this time to visit Dr Saxena, a renowned foot specialist, to help me with the required treatment to have me ready for training on November 1.
I particularly do not enjoy running indoors and so I never get ready for the indoor circuit. My target next year is to win the African Championships in the 200m and solidify my status as Africa’s best sprinter over the last few years by winning the gold medal.
I am also working on setting up my website, www.briandzingai.com, so people can stay posted on my schedule and results. The build up for 2012 starts now and I hope to secure some corporate sponsors.

EM: Who were your sporting heroes growing up?

BD: I have always been into athletics from a young age and I remember watching the Grand Prix races on television. Internationally, Frankie Fredericks is definitely an inspiration as he was a beacon for African sprinters for a very long time at an elite level throughout his whole career. In Zimbabwe, there is no single athlete that ever captivated me, but the closest individual may be my coach Ken Harnden.

EM: What makes Dzingi tick?

BD: It takes a lot to make Dzingi tick. If you speak to most people who know me or have ever encountered me, I am an easy going fella. I must say though that I hate being lied too, period.

EM: What do you plan to do after your athletics career?

BD: Well, I have two Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Finance which I completed in 2005. I also graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2007. There is an entrepreneurial spirit in my family and I intend on tapping into that and I have already started to do that. I just hope I can maintain the same drive and enthusiasm like my father.

EM: What do you consider to be the major benefits of your career?

BD: Running track and field has truly been rewarding and I have developed friendships and connections and seen the world. I am sitting on an MBA and I could easily get a higher paying job, but the key is that I enjoy what I am doing and I am doing it whilst my body is still allowing me to. I walked out on Deloitte within three months of working there, but that is something I can always go back too if I decide to resume that career path. I did not want to live my life with regrets hence I pursued this path I’m on now.

EM: How was the experience of competing in an Olympics final, alongside the amazing Jamaican Usain Bolt?

BD: It was a blessing and honour to be part of an Olympic final, let alone a world record breaking performance. It was a culmination of the hard work I had put in for the last four years in trying to be an Olympic finalist. Those who had seen my journey from primary school, to my high school years at St. George’s College and my days in the American college system, celebrated that experience having been part of my journey in some way, directly or indirectly. Most importantly it was great for our nation. It showed some of the positive aspects of our beautiful country.

EM: How is life in the US?

BD: The US serves its purpose for what I am doing now, but there is no place like home. If the coaching levels and facilities were up to par, there is no doubt in my mind I would be training in Zimbabwe.

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