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Coventry revives Olympic hopes

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Top Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry revived her hopes of capturing her eighth Olympic medal after posting the third fastest time in the 200m backstroke heats at the Aquatic Centre in London yesterday.

Coventry (28), who is by far the country’s brightest medal prospect at the ongoing games, was expected to line up in the semi-finals last night needing to post a quicker time to qualify for tonight’s final.

The Harare-born swimming sensation, who struggled in the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley early this week, looked re-energised in what has become her signature event. After getting off to a slow start, Coventry worked her way from fourth place to eventually finish in second place after registering a time of 2:08.14 minutes.

United States’ Missy Franklin, who won gold in the 100m backstroke, was the top qualifier after coming ahead of Coventry in heat five in a time of 2:07.54 while the other top qualifier was the United States’ Elizabeth Beisel with 2:07.82.

Coventry, who is the two-time defending gold medallist and current world record-holder in the 200m backstroke, looks poised to make yet another appearance on the medal stand in what should be her last Olympic appearance come today’s final.

The ongoing games have not been a good hunting ground for the seven-time Olympic medallist.

Her campaign got off to a poor start after she crashed out at the semifinal stage of the 100m backstroke before, she went on to finish a disappointing sixth in the final of the 200 metre individual medley on Tuesday evening.

Should she manage to win a medal in the 200m backstroke, it would be a befitting end to Coventry’s Olympic career and further boost her image as the country’s best ever Olympian.

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