As the country gears up for the London Olympic Games in 2012, the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) has managed to secure Olympic scholarships for six athletes.
US-based sprinters Brian Dzingai and Antony Hobwana will benefit from the programme together with middle and long distance runners Cuthbert Nyasango and Marvin Bonde.
Tennis players Mbonisi Ndimande and Takanyi Garan’anga will also benefit from the programme after ZOC announced that they had targeted tennis as one of the sports with the potential to bring medals for the country at the Olympics.
Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry and long jumper Ngonidzashe Makusha have already benefited from the scholarship programme.
ZOC general manager Stanley Mutoya said the athletes had already started receiving $8 000 per month to cover their welfare, training and coaching expenses until 2012.
“The Olympic Scholarships for athletes programme’s objective is to assist elite athletes nominated by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in their preparation for qualification for the Olympic Games.
“It pays particular attention to athletes and NOCs having financial difficulties which gives them the possibility to obtain financial and technical assistance for a selected number of elite athletes who are training, and aiming to qualify for the London Olympic Games,” said Mutoya.
To help athletes qualify for the London Olympic Games, Olympic Solidarity will offer each athlete an additional fixed subsidy of $5 000 to cover a limited number of air tickets for scholarship holders to participate in relevant Olympic qualification competitions.
Mutoya said they called for national sports associations to make submissions of their top athletes’ profiles for consideration and selection by the ZOC technical and development commission.
“The commission selected a total of 14 athletes out of the 31 submissions that were received with
Olympic Solidarity thereafter selecting eight athletes.
“The selection was in line with the recently
formulated ZOC Long Term Winning Strategy whose aim is to develop and churn out world-class athletes by 2020,” said Mutoya.
Swimmers Coventry, Heather Brand, sprinters Dzingai, Lewis Banda, Talkmore Nyongani and triathlete Rory Mackie were awarded scholarships for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.