Team Zimbabwe at the London Olympic Games looks set to set up a pre-games training camp in Coventry in England, but the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) needs approximately £20 000 to meet the costs of hiring the venues, equipment and accommodation, NewsDay Sport has learnt.
As part of the lead-in to the Games, ZOC are looking to fine-tune preparations by setting up a two-week pre-games training environment for the team to have an opportunity to overcome travel fatigue, adjust to the time difference and acclimatise to the conditions they will face in competition.
The London Olympic Games will run from July 27 to August 12.
Chef de Mission of Team Zimbabwe at the Olympic Games, Busi Chindove, said although they were still in discussion with a number of venues, the City of Coventry had shown interest in hosting local athletes.
“The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee is currently in discussions with a number of venues that are offering pre-games training camp facilities. The pre-games training contracts have to be signed by end of February which is only a couple of weeks away. We have received a very good offer from Coventry City who have a keen interest in our team because of the shared name with Kirsty Coventry.
“We are holding discussions which we hope will result in us having access to world-class training facilities which our athletes can use as part of their final preparations before the games start in July,” said Chindove.
The City of Coventry Stadium is home to English Championship football club Coventry City.
It is ideally located in the centre of England. Seven-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer Kirsty Coventry made a visit to the city with which she shares her name in November last year.
The iconic swimmer visited the Coventry Sports Foundation — managed by the Alan Higgs Centre on Allard Way — to watch the latest instalment of the Coventry City Council 2012 Games Team’s Festival of Sport – which was hosted to give schoolchildren across that region a taste of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Chindove, however, said ZOC was still in the process of raising funds needed to meet the costs of setting up the pre-games camp.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is that of raising the required funding of approximately £20 000 to meet the costs of hiring the venues, equipment and accommodation for the pre-games training camp.
“We are planning to have Team Zimbabwe athletes camp in the United Kingdom for about two weeks prior to the games in order to acclimatise, train and bond as a team. The facilities available are in line with the disciplines in which we already have team members that have qualified, namely athletics, swimming and rowing, besides other disciplines in which we hope to qualify,” said Chindove.