Athletics legend, Artwell Mandaza, who died early this week was buried at his rural home in Chiweshe on Wednesday.

Members of the sports fraternity, family and friends gathered in Chiweshe to pay their last respects to the iconic athlete, Artwell Mandaza, who died at Howard Mission Hopsital on Monday.

National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe(NAAZ) Vice President Enias Nhoro described Mandaza’s death as a blow to all sporting disciplines as  the late used his illustrious career to groom aspiring sports personnel.

“As an athletics family we have lost a person who did a lot for us, beating many records, training others, we can accord him a hero status in athletics,” said Nhoro.

Sports and Recreation Commission Board member Titus Zvomuya said Mandaza left an indelible mark in the development of sport in Zimbabwe.

“The impact of Mandaza in the Zimbabwean sport arena is second to none, he was passionate even motivated us to take up sport as administrators, we hope after this burial some recognition will be bestowed on him,” said Zvomuya.

Will Mandaza, son to the late, said his father was not only a distinguished sport personality but a family man.

“It’s going to be very difficult for the whole family without him, but we have to find a way to pull through, we used to call him Hard-Core because he never got stressed, he left loving memories,” said Mandaza.

Artwell Mandaza was born in Chiweshe under Chief Makope in 1948. He rose to prominence in the 1960s where he held various records in the 100m, 200, 400and 400m hurdles categories from 1969 to 1976.

He was the first Rhodesian black person to be awarded the sportsman of the year award in 1970 and was also presented with the John Hopley Memorial Trophy to make him the first African to be honoured in that regard.

At the time of his death, Mandaza was into sports administration where he nurtured young talent to take up sport as a career.