Newly-crowned Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year Kirsty Coventry could train in the country in preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics which kick off in London in July.
Speaking to NewsDay Sport on Thursday night after clinching a double by winning the prestigious Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa) Sportsperson and Sportswoman of the Year awards, the swimming sensation said she would use the country’s sunny weather conditions to acclimatise for the Summer Olympics next year.
“I am very honoured to have won the two awards, I feel very proud to be Zimbabwean,” said the visibly excited Coventry. “I am happy to be in the country.
I haven’t got my training programme as yet, but it will be very nice to train under the Zimbabwean sun. We have good weather here, it’s sunny and warm here, the same weather that is expected during the Summer Olympics so it will be good for me to get used to it,” she added.
Coventry, who is expected to defend the 200m backstroke title she won at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, said she expected a tough tournament next year. She also won three silver medals at the same competition.
“I am looking forward to the Olympics and to have fun. It is going to be difficult to defend the title, but I will do my best,” said Coventry, who was flanked at the awards by her parents and boyfriend
Coventry said she felt humbled to be voted the country’s finest achiever of the 2011 sporting season as there were other athletes who also did exceptionally well in the past season.
“I would also want to congratulate all the finalists for the Annual National Sports Awards and hope that we will continue to make the country proud.”
The 28-year-old said she would compete in the British Swimming Championships in March next year, a competition which will be used as a test run for the London Summer Olympics.
Coventry had an impressive season where she raked in medals at international events almost at will.