Brian vs Goliath: Dzingai’s London war-cry

MISSING out on an Olympic medal by mere seconds still makes Brian Dzingai sad.

But that near miss in Beijing two years ago also makes the most accomplished sprinter in Zimbabwean history even hungrier to shed the nearly man tag when London 2012 comes around.

The diminutive US-based athlete, who is still trying to rediscover his best form after recovering from an injury which kept him out of the track for the better part of last season, this week spoke to IndependentSport from his base about his form, his big dreams and preparations for the London Olympic Games.

“Of course, I am looking forward to the next Olympic Games,” Dzingai said. “Missing a medal by one spot was definitely difficult to swallow.   My motivation has never faltered and if anything I am hungrier for success now more than I was two years ago. I am neither afraid to try nor afraid to fail, but my desire to succeed surpasses my fear of failure.”

Dzingai, running in a strong field led by the tear-away Usain Bolt, ran a time of 20,22, which placed him unofficially in sixth place. The Jamaican wonder Bolt shattered the world record, stretching away comfortably to win that race.

However, due to the disqualification of Churandy Martina and Wallace Spearman, Dzingai moved up to the fourth place overall, missing out on a bronze medal by 0,24 seconds.

The well-educated Harare-born athlete, who can easily map a career in business administration, has had to defy his small size to make it as a professional short-distance runner.

“I have big expectations of myself,” he said. “The objective is to do better than the last time around, and it’s quite obvious what this means. I am definitely going for a medal. I don’t feel pressure from anyone else or from anywhere else, but I have an internalised pressure which really is my drive for success. All my life I have been fighting a Brian vs. Goliath battle mainly because of my small stature, but for those who are familiar with
the story, we all know that Goliath the giant was not the victor.”
Since returning to the track, Dzingai’s best were a first place finish at the Leiden race in the Netherlands on June 12 and second at Patra, Greece, on June 30.

“My form hasn’t been the greatest since my recovery from injury as the season rolled up before I was quite ready, but I am happy with my progress,” he said. “The approach we decided to take was to race myself into shape. The advantage I have right now is that there is no major championship this year apart from the African Championships (July 23-August 1). This gives my body an opportunity to recover from the gruesome training regimen. However, I am determined to be the African Champion this year.”

Dzingai is primarily a 200m specialist, but he is also aware that he has to work on the shorter distance to boost his chances.

“I also do realise that I have to become a good 100m runner for my 200m to improve,” he said. “In all honesty, my personal best time, which is only four hundreths of a second off the national record, is not a true representation of my abilities in that event. Once my sprint speed improves, I will be a more polished 200m specialist.”

To take part in the London Olympics, Dzingai has to run a qualifying time of 20,59s.

Enock Muchinjo