This Cheetah’s faster than most

ONE gets the feeling that something special is about to happen every time Shingirayi Hlanguyo walks onto the rugby field.

Blessed with speed and a solid pair of hands, the 19-year-old was a sure pick for Cheetahs gaffer Gilbert Nyamutsamba ahead of last weekend’s Lusaka Sevens Tournament. Prior to his inclusion in the Zimbabwe sevens side, little was known about this young man aside from the fact that he is very fast.

And boy is he fast!

Hlanguyo finished the tournament with five tries, a conversion and heaps of praises from his gaffer. “We carried about four debutants with us to Zambia and while all did well, I was particularly impressed with young Shingi.

He was the stand-out player for me, a true find, and a player I have plans for in future,” said Nyamutsamba. With such glowing praise from the head coach, one would expect a 19-year-old to be on. Well, he is not.

In fact, Hlanguyo’s future in rugby is uncertain.

Born May 11, 1998, Hlanguyo appears is a man of many talents: a track and field star, a rising rugby player, and a musician.

While the music thing is still just a hobby, the former Peterhouse student is really thinking of a a career in athletics. “If I had to choose between athletics or rugby, I think my preferred profession would be athletics,” he revealed. “The feeling I get before a race is more exciting, and fulfilling, than the one I get from a rugby game.

“In rugby it’s more about team effort, and one can actually be relaxed during a crucial game.  However, in athletics success or failure is determined by the work you put in.  I find athletics to be more challenging and I am a guy who loves challenges.”

His preferred event is the 100m sprint, where he is a two-time Gauteng provincial champion, a two-time South African junior national champion and a bronze medallist at the 2015 All-Africa Youth Championships. His personal best is 10,56s.

While his PB is far off the world’s elite, for rugby it is more than enough: South Africa’s Brian Habana runs the 100m in 10,4s; while the US trio of Takudzwa Ngwenya (10,5s), Perry Baker (10,58s) and Carlin Isles (10,13s) are all in the same range.

As Hlanguyo prepares to join California State University to start studies on an athletics scholarship next year, he is ready to honour call-ups for rugby national teams.

“I enjoyed my debut for Cheetahs and remain fully committed to calls for national duty in the future,” said Hlanguyo.

This country has given me so much and it is my desire to give back,” said Hlanguyo who will be studying Kinesiology.

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