SHE is inspired by top Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt as well as local sprinter Elliot Mujaji.
This is Yvonne Vanhuvaone a Form Three pupil at Townsend High School, Bulawayo.
Born on March 2 1997 in Masvingo, Southern Eye Sport caught up with Vanhuvaone after she received two athletics awards during the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Annual Merit Awards at the Large City Hall on Friday.
She received an award for winning a medal in national athletics competitions as well as for winning a regional athletics competition in the Confederation of School Sports Association of Southern Africa (Cossasa) Games.
“I started doing athletics when I was doing primary education at Hillside Primary School.
“ I used to run the 100m and 200m sprints. I was selected to go to Hwange for an inter-provincial competition and I came third in the 100m. I continued to do the 100m event until I was in Grade 7.
“I tried to do other sporting disciplines like hockey and tennis, but I realised that my strength was in athletics, so I decided to focus more on athletics,” she said.
According to her club coach at Sparrows, Vusumuzi Mlilo, Vanhuvaone’s exceptional running talent traces back to her primary school days.
“Sparrows Athletics Club spotted this young athlete in 2011 when she ran for Townsend School or Bulawayo Central District, then Zone E. As athletics development specialists, we knew that she had what it takes to be an accomplished 400m sprinter.
“Sparrows took her up for structured professional training and competition exposure beyond school level. In 2011 she became the best national 400m female sprinter in club competitions. Her first national cap was the 2012 Botswana Cossasa championships where she ran in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays and scooped gold medals,” he said.
Although she does 200m sprints’ her major strength seems to be on the 400m sprints judging by her achievements so far. She won bronze in the National Association of Secondary Schools (Nash) national championships in Bindura in 2011 in a time of 61,09secs before she scooped another bronze in the Nash competition that was hosted in Plumtree High School in a time of 59,70secs last year.
Vanhuvaone also won gold for Bulawayo Province in the Zimbabwe National Youth Games in Bindura last year where she clocked 60,00secs in the 400m dash.
She was selected to represent the country in the Cossasa championships in Botswana last year.
“I was very excited when I was chosen as one of the athletes to represent the country in the Cossasa Championships in Botswana. I do not remember the time, but we won gold in the 4x400m relay.
“One of the races I remember was when I won silver in the 400m race in the Cossasa championships in Harare. I was then selected for the African National Youth Championships in Nigeria. I came fifth because I think I panicked being the first time to compete with athletes from all over Africa,” she said.
In Nigeria she had clocked 57,30secs in the heats before she got a time of 59,58secs in the final.
She was also part of the Zimbabwe team that went to Ukraine for the World Youth Championships in July this year.
“I came fifth in that race, again. We arrived a day before the competition in the evening. I was tired and we did not have the feel of the venue before the race. Despite that, I know that I still have to work very hard in competitions,” she added.
Last month, she won gold for Bulawayo Province during the Zimbabwe National Youth Games in the 400m race in 57,55secs.