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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'Having a baby doesn't mean that's the end of your career' - Xcel RC as they recruit Nyahora

Rutendo Nyahora is overjoyed that she has been given a second chance to join an elite running club, after it looked like 2022 could be a tough year for her. The Olympian had been with Nedbank Running Club for 11 years before parting ways with the club in 2020. Then after she and husband Sibusiso Nzima (who is also a top runner) were blessed with a baby last year, it understandably took time for the 32-year to begin regaining her fitness of old. So she was pleasantly surprised when Xcel Running Club approached her to join their elite stable regardless of her current form.

"I was called by Xcel Club Manager Mandla Mngomezulu early this year. He asked if I can run for his club," she revealed to #TheTopRunner. "I explained to him that I'm still working on my fitness I having a baby and that I would call him back when I am ready. To my surprise Mandla said to me: 'Rutendo allow us to work with you and help you to bounce back, having a baby doesn't mean that's the end of your career. We're not expecting results from you now, all we want is to see you back on your feet."

Rutendo Nyahora is aiming for a big comeback in 2022 in the colours of her new outfit - Xcel Running Club. Photo Credit: Rutendo Nyahora.

That act of kindness was all the convincing that the woman who represented Zimbabwe at the 2016 Rio Olympics needed to join the KwaZulu Natal-based club. "I was so happy and grateful I was even crying over the phone and that's when decided to join the Xcel family," she explained. An eighth place finish at the Dis-Chem Half Marathon in 1:28:49 two weeks ago signalled the beginning of a return to the sort of fitness she enjoyed when she won two consecutive SPAR Women's Grand Prix races in 2013.

"My goals for 2022 are to qualify for the World Championships; improve my times from 10km to Marathon and run the Spar Ladies races," said the woman who also featured at the 2019 World Championships in Doha over 42,2km. With the support of her new club, it looks like 2022 may turn out to be a good year for Nyahora afterall.

Xcel have announced a new partnership with sponsor Black Diamond Consulting. Photo Credit: Xcel Running Club.

And it gets even better for the club that also gave a platform to talented athletes like Sibusiso Kubheka, Cacisile Sosibo and Zinhle Shabalala. Xcel also announced a new sponsor for the season ahead in the form of Ibhele Nabangani Consulting CC, who have signed on as the club's official sponsor. "As Xcel Running Club we are very excited about this partnership as it seeks to develop the sport which is consistent with our vision. The resources from Ibhele Nabangani Consulting CC, 32Gi and many more will assist our high-performance athletes," said club chairman Sibusiso Cele.

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