LEGENDARY boxer Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago was laid to rest among other gallant sons of the Midlands at the Provincial Heroes’ Acre in Gweru yesterday, becoming the first sportsperson to be accorded such status in Zimbabwe.
Tinago, a three-time Commonwealth champion, died at the age of 69 in Gweru on Tuesday last week.
Youth, Sport and Recreation Minister Raymond Kazembe said they were grateful to President Mnangagwa for ensuring Tinago was bestowed a befitting hero’s status, in a speech read on his behalf by his permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho.
“For the first time in Zimbabwe, a sportsman has been given Provincial Hero status. We are grateful for this noble gesture from President Mnangagwa.
Tinago, affectionately known as Schoolboy, a national and Commonwealth champion, deserves to rest among the greats in the province; he achieved more than any in recorded history,” said Kazembe.
“He has been influential in the mentoring of some of our upcoming and successful professional boxers in Zimbabwe. Boxers such as Tapia Tembo and Sting Gonorenda all boast passing through the hands of this great hero.
“When he spoke his mind, he always did it in a respectful manner. Zimbabwe has lost a legend. To the upcoming sportsmen and women, learn from Tinago’s history and be inspired to reach greater heights,” Kazembe said.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Owen Ncube said: “He won the Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year three times and was runner-up in the fourth attempt. For the record, only swimmer Kirsty Coventry has come anywhere near his feat after she won the award twice. If we use this yardstick, Tinago is the greatest athlete to emerge in Zimbabwe since the advent of colonialism and boxing greatly prides in this.”
The Tinago family spokesperson Wellington Pombi said Tinago was a unifier who got the nickname Schoolboy because he started boxing at a tender age.
“To us his family, we called him Gazi; that was his other nickname. We feel humbled by the Government’s decision to accord him Provincial hero’s status.
We thank our leaders in the province and President Mnangagwa for this kind gesture,” said Pombi.
Zimbabwe National Boxing Control Board board member Thomas Kambuyi said Tinago was involved in 86 professional fights in which he lost 20 and drew three.
“His first professional fight was in 1967 and hung his gloves in 1988. Back then they used to fight 15 rounds per bout and he was a very dedicated boxer who was full of discipline,” said Kambuyi.
Tinago is survived by seven children and 10 grandchildren. – Chronicle