“Keep grinding the door will open soon, it might not be today or tomorrow but it will open”- Shimukowa Charles
“Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” — Michael Jordan
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” — Dean Karnazes
Sport just like other careers requires so much discipline, hard work and persistence, You have to keep going and going. We have seen a young boy from Kafue go all the way to go and play UEFA Champions league football in our Patson Daka, We have seen that young girl go all the way and become a champion in Phiri Esther just with that determination. The story is not different with Shimukowa Charles who is an athlete, it all started in 2011 on sports day at St paul’s secondary school in Zambia and now he is professional track athlete specialised in the 400m and 800m currently based in Johnson city, Tennessee.
AKZam had a chat with this great athlete;
Can you tell us about your educational background?
I went to Chilumba basic primary, Mapalo-primary in Kabwe and then later completed at St paul’s secondary-Kabwe i later did Natural resource management at Mulungushi university in Kabwe after went to Western Kentucky University in the USA i obtained a Master of Science, sport and recreation also got a Masters in Business Administration from Cumberland university — Tennessee, USA.
What have you achieved so far in Athletics?
Zambia Zimbabwe and Malawi (ZIZAMA games) 400m record holder. Harare, Zimbabwe
2016 senior Zambia National champion 400m Lusaka, Zambia
2016 3rd place finish All Africa student games 400m Johannesburg, South Africa
2016 2nd place and first place finish southern Africa university games Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
2018 top ten finish in Conference USA 400m indoors (western kentucky University) Alabama, USA
2019 best athlete Mid South Conference (Cumberland University) Alabama, USA
2019 NAIA National Champion and 3rd place finish at NAIA Nationals (Cumberland University) South Dakota, USA and Alabama, USA.
Why Athletics and what does it mean to you?
It just happened, I did not plan for it. The only difference is that I decided to exploit it. Athletics means the world to me it’s no longer just a sport, it’s my life.
Why do you think it is so hard to make it international in athletics in Zambia?
The structures are so poor and the support system is one of the worst I have ever seen. There is literally no visible plan at all, it’s all about individualism. If you have to make it, it is all upto to you.
How many times a day do you workout and who coaches you?
We workout once every day except Tuesday and Friday when we workout twice and Chris Layne is my coach
What is the worst advice you ever got about athletics ?
The worst advice has to be been told to just stop it and channel my energy somewhere else. Also been asked who i have ever seen make it from Zambia.
Who inspires you the most in Zambian athletics and the world ?
I don’t really get Inspiration from people but if I had to choose a local and an International person it would have to be Samuel Matete and Usain Bolt.
What are some causes you are passionate about?
Feeding the hungry, Education for all, people with Disabilities, Empowerment through sport and Zero tolerance to corruption.
What Are your 3 favorite books?
The Bible, A Champion’s Mindset and The TB12 Method: How to achieve a lifetime of peak performance.
What would be your personal motto?
To do the best in whatever I can and to help as many people as possible.
What’s one bad thing that happened to you that was actually a blessing in disguise?
In 2019 I got terribly injured and almost sat out the whole outdoor season the head coach at cumberland Mardy scales entered me in a last chance meet at the university of tennessee to qualify to nationals of which I wouldn’t have been entered had I been healthy that season. So at this meet I ended up making a friend who is a professional Track athlete and she later arranged for me to live with her and join her Elite team where I am currently based.
What Advice would you give to your fellow youths?
To keep grinding the door will open soon, it might not be today or tomorrow but it will open.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
I appreciate every step in my life so I am proud of everything. I cannot single out one thing because everything is connected.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for helping others and positively impacting other people’s lives.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
Preserving the level of motivation the seasons are so long and repeated routines can steal your sense of Motivation.
Why do you keep going, so many challenges but what makes you keep going?
I keep going because my Y is bigger than my challenges.
Which race is your favorite?
This is a tough one because both my races hurt but if I had to pick one it would be the 400M. It is shorter and that’s the race that made me get international recognition.
Which stadium do you want to race on?
The bird’s nest in Beijing looks good. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to run there.
What’s next for Charles ?
Charles will keep grinding and take each day as it comes.
What is it that you like about Zambian people the most?
Zambian People are funny!
Where can people find out more of what you are doing and contact you?
Feel free to reach out and ask questions about any sport and scholarships in the USA, i’m here to help.
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