Swimming team team rewarded

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The Zimbabwe women swimming team led by the impressive Kirsty Coventry was on Saturday evening rewarded for its sterling performance at the ongoing All-Africa Games being held in Maputo, Mozambique.

Swimming ended on Saturday night with the women swimming team bagging 11 medals, the only medals Team Zimbabwe have amassed at the games so far.

Zimbabwe have so far managed four gold, six silver and one bronze medals.

With most of the players in the swimming team having indicated that they wanted to leave for their respective bases, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) then converged an award ceremony at the Athletes Village where Team Zimbabwe is booked, to honour the success of the female swimmers.

South Africa-based Coventry who won four gold and a silver medal as an individual athlete and another three silver medals with the women relay team was the biggest winner of the night as she pocketed a cool $2 250.

United States-based Nicole Horn who was making her debut appearance at the All-Africa Games was given $750 for her exploits after winning two silver medals before joining with teammates to win three similar accolades in the relays.

Young swimming sensation Samantha Welch, at 15, also won a bronze medal, adding to the three silver medals she won with the relay team.

She was given $370 but more importantly than the cash prize, the young athlete won recognition, experience and exposure.

The fourth athlete in the relay team Kirsten Lapham was the only athlete that failed to win a medal in individual races.

The closest she got was in the 400m freestyle when she came fourth, thereby agonisingly missing on the medal roll call.

Lapham was however rewarded for the contribution she made in the relay team and was given $250.

Their male counterparts however returned home empty-handed following their dismal performance at the games.

Timothy Ferris who competed in the 200m backstroke finished seventh.

He then partnered Grant Behan, James Lawson and Nicholas Burnett in the 400m freestyle relay but again came short. The team came seventh.

Team Zimbabwe received a setback in their hunt for more medals yesterday when the netball team, a genuine medal hopeful recorded a second defeat in a row.

Following their 37-46 defeat to unbeaten Tanzania on Saturday, the team fell 54-47 to Kenya yesterday in a match that was mired by controversy.

Zimbabwe officials in Maputo yesterday complained of biased officiating in that match which was handled by officials from Uganda.

Chess remains another medal hopeful for the country.

The team lead by grandmaster Robert Gwaze beat Kenya 3½ points to 1/2 on Thursday and yesterday managed a 2-2 against Algeria.

Athletics got underway yesterday and there was good news for Zimbabwe when Tinashe Mutanga qualified for the semi-finals.

The women basketball team winded up their matches at the games with a 59-56 win over Mali yesterday.

The match was a dead rubber for both teams who have already crashed out of the games after a miserable showing in the early stages of the tournament.