Gold and more gold in Maputo

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Zimbabwe tennis sensation Takanyi Garanganga lived up to his status as one of rising stars in the continent when he won a gold medal at the ongoing All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, on Friday.

Africa’s 11th best ranked player Garanganga overpowered Egyptian Sharif Zahir 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in a match that was played at Tondouri Jardin Clay tennis courts.

This was Garanganga’s second medal at the games after he won a silver medal in the men’s doubles on Thursday evening. He partnered compatriot Mark Fynn.

Garanganga also became the third Zimbabwean to strike gold at the games, following swimming queen Kirsty Coventry and chess grandmaster Robert Gwaze who won his on Thursday night.

Yesterday’s achievements by the tennis star took Team Zimbabwe’s medal count to 15. The medals are 6 gold, 7 silver and 2 bronze.

The country, which is now ranked 15th on the medal count, is still hoping to get at least one more medal before the games comes to an end on Sunday.

Zimbabwe still has three judo fighters Bruce Sibanda, Sydney Chibwayi and Simbarashe Mashayi who were expected in the ring on Friday night.

Team Zimbabwe head of public relations Tirivashe Nheweyembwa said he was not pleased with the overall performance of the country at the games.

“We didn’t do well if compared to our performance at the last edition of the All-Africa Games in Algeria when we won 23 medals and we were ranked 8th best in Africa. Our average performance this time around could be a combination of many things. It was clear that our athletes lack exposure which is needed at this level. If you can notice all the athletes who are based abroad did extremely well, which cannot be said about the locals who seem to crumble at this level of competition because they are not used to it,” said Nheweyembwa.

The biggest undoing for Team Zimbabwe was the athletics team which failed to win even a single medal at the games. Eleven of the medals the country won came from the women swimming team.