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Golden Coventry

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Kirsty Coventry has once again done the country proud after she bagged the first gold medal for a rather struggling Team Zimbabwe at the 10th edition of the All-Africa Games currently underway in Maputo, Mozambique.

The swimming sensation romped to victory in the 400m individual medley at the Zimpeto National Stadium’s swimming complex on Monday evening.

She clocked an impressive time of 4:44.34, beating a strong challenge from the South African duo of Cathryn Meaklim (4:46.33) and Bianca Mayer 4:51.20, who had to settle for silver and bronze respectively.

Coventry then combined with Nicole Horn, Samantha Welch and Kirsten Lapham to collect a silver medal for the country in the 4x100m individual medley on Tuesday.

Swimming continues to be the country’s strongest discipline at the games with Horn winning a silver medal in the individual 200m freestyle on Monday to make three the medals the country has won so far in swimming.

The nation will hope that Coventry maintains her good form and repeat her 2007 All-Africa Games feat when she amassed a whopping seven gold medals and three silver medals to help the country to a respectable eighth position on the final medal count.

The 28-year-old Olympic gold medallist is still to compete in her favourite 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley, 400m freestyle, 4×100 medley, 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle.

The Zimbabwe netball team, another genuine medal hopeful for the country, has also accounted for themselves well so far after humiliating hosts 69-3 on Monday. They are set to meet Botswana this afternoon.

The women’s basketball team, who lost their first three matches to Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique, finally remembered how to win when they narrowly beat the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 63-61.

There was also joy for Zimbabwe in boxing as Steven Masiyambumbi beat the lights out of a Togo opponent in a light-weight bout yesterday. The pugilist won on points after accumulating 13 against 7.

Tuesday’s results have put a smile on Team Zimbabwe who have started the games on a disappointing note, registering defeat after defeat in the opening days.

Women basketball will now hope for a miracle to progress to the next round after suffering three defeats in a row, prior to their win on
Tuesday.

They will now have to beat Algeria and Mali in their next games and hope that other matches in their group go their way.

Christopher Selgate, who was representing the country in triathlon, has already returned to his base in South Africa after coming fourth, thereby missing on the medal roll call.

The Zimbabwe table tennis team also had a sluggish start, with the women team losing 3-0 to Uganda on Sunday while their male counterparts also fell by the same scoreline to the DRC.

Boxer Josphat Mufay lost his middleweight fight 5-7 to a Mozambican opponent as Team Zimbabwe stuttered in the opening disciplines.

However, the biggest disappointment of them all was the women national football team, the Mighty Warriors.

After raising the country’s hopes by winning the regional Cosafa Women Championships recently, the nation was expecting the same performance at the continental showpiece.

However, the Mighty Warriors, who had an intensive two-week training camp in Germany in preparation for the Maputo games, just decided not to turn up for their opening Group B match against a second string Banyana Banyana side, eventually crashing to a humiliating 4-1 defeat.

The Rosemary Mugadza-coached side will now have to beat Africa’s second-ranked team Ghana on Thursday and then Tanzania on Saturday if they are harbouring any hopes of progressing to the second round.

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