Zim’s para-rowing team defies odds

RIO DE JANEIRO — Zimbabwe are set to make their Paralympic rowing debut with the para mixed coxed four event whose heats get underway at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.



Zimbabwe has entered a four member coxed para-rowing team in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games which will be officially opened today in Rio de Janeiro.

The team which is coached by Canada-born Rachel Davis has come a long way in a short time and were awarded a bipartite berth for the Games.

No matter which way the results go, these athletes will leave the Games with a record that is going to be hard to beat as a crew made up entirely of rowers with less than a year of experience.

Coxswain, Jessica Davis, is the daughter of coach Rachel Davis and at 17 years old she is the glue needed to bring this crew together.

Previous Wiri (stroke seat) and Margret Bangajena (bow seat) were among the first to attend Zimbabwe’s initial para-rowing session in February, 2016.

An experienced para-athlete, Wiri has played wheelchair marathon, body building, basketball and swimming. Bangajena also draws on her extensive background in wheelchair marathon.

Takudzwa Gwariro (3 seat) and Chipo Zento (spare) began in March 2016 and were part of the crew for their first race in Gavirate, Italy.

A long time rugby player, Gwariro sustained an injury in his final year of high school, making him classifiable as a para-rower.

He is a 20-year-old junior teacher with a dream to study law and go to university outside of Africa. Chipo Zento was essential to the crew’s first race in Gavirate and will be the spare for the team in Rio. Michelle Garnett (2 seat) is the ‘newest’ rower of the group, joining the team in May 2016.

Rowing at the Paralympic Games goes from 9-11 September 2016 at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Rio, Brazil.


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