SWIMMING icon Kirsty Coventry was yesterday conferred an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sports Science Education at the Bindura University of Science Education’s (Buse) 16th graduation ceremony for her contribution to the development of sport in Zimbabwe.
BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
Coventry, the recently elected Zimbabwe Olympic Committee vice-president, was honoured in absentia as she is attending an International Olympic Committee event in the United States of America.
Receiving the award on her behalf, Coventry’s mother, Lyn, said they felt humbled as a family by the award.
“She would have loved to be here to celebrate with you today, but she is out of the country and asked to me to represent her. She feels honoured to be receiving this doctorate and really wants to personally thank the university. She has sent a message to all graduates. ‘Don’t let your circumstances determine who you are or what you want to do in life. You have the opportunity to be whoever you want to be,’” she said.
Buse vice-chancellor Eddie Mwenje said Coventry’s achievements as an athlete, which put Zimbabwe in the limelight were enough for her to be honoured.
“Buse, as the host of the Zimbabwe National Sports Academy, has seen it fit and worthwhile to award an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sports Science to a hardworking, hilarious, dedicated, patriotic and disciplined person,” he said.
“Since independence, Zimbabwe has produced a number of excellent sportspeople in a wide range of disciplines, but Kirsty Coventry has done more to deserve honour. She has won more individual Olympic medals than any female swimmer in the history of the sport. She is without doubt Africa’s most successful Olympic athlete having competed at five Olympic tournaments from 2000 to 2016. All her achievements have made her the most inspirational sports personality in Africa.”
The “golden girl” won her first Olympic medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. She won a gold, a silver, and a bronze.
Coventry was one of the 1 961 people who were conferred with different degrees at the graduation ceremony yesterday.