for raising the country’s flag high at the four-day meet, the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee yesterday said that her four gold medal feat in Japan has demonstrated that she was ready to face any challenges that will come her way at next year’s Olympics.
Robert Mutsauki, the ZOC chief executive, said Coventry’s outstanding performances at last month’s All-Africa Games and at the International Swim Meet in Japan have to put rest “fears that she was on a downward slide”.
After reaping nine medals seven gold and two silver at the Algiers Games, Coventry, who turns 24 on September 16, followed this up by winning four gold medals in the 100 and 200m backstroke, and 200 and 400m individual medley events in Japan last week.
“We are very impressed by Kirsty’s performance at such a high profile competition in Japan last week and this, coming soon after her outstanding performance at the All-Africa Games in Algiers last month, demonstrates how strong she now is.
“It’s not only winning the four gold medals in Japan that is impressive, but the actual times she recorded as exemplified by her narrow miss of the world record in the 200m backstroke event,” Mutsauki said.
During last week’s International Swim Meet in the Japanese city of Narashino, Coventry was just 0,21 of a second short of the world record when winning a gold medal in the women’s 200m backstroke event in two minutes 06,83 seconds.
She also collected three more gold medals when she emerged triumphant in the 100m backstroke and the 200 and 400m individual medley events at the same competition.
This enabled Zimbabwe to finish in a respectable third position on the final medal table behind one of world swimming powerhouses Australia and hosts Japan.
Australia reaped a total of 29 medals which included 15 gold while Japan came second with 18 medals, six of them gold.
Coventry finished the meet responsible for all of Zimbabwe’s four gold medals and Mutsauki said this showed that her preparations for next August’s Olympic Games were well on course.
“In Japan, Kirsty focused on the four events that she is scheduled to compete in at the Beijing Games next year.
“And looking at her results, you can see that she’s very strong all round because apart from the backstroke events, the individual medley events call for good all-round performance in different strokes.
“So, the end result actually shows that she is at the top of her game now. In fact, when she only won silver medals at the World Championships in March, there were fears that she was on a downward slide.
“But at that time we indicated that there were good reasons behind that because she was out of top competition for quite sometime after sustaining a freak leg injury last year.
“But she has now demonstrated that she is back at her best and her preparations for the Olympic Games in Beijing are now on course,” Mutsauki said.
He added that ZOC were also convinced that Coventry would surpass her historic three-medal feat at the last Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004 where she won a gold, silver and bronze.
“Again when you look at her times in Japan, they are much faster than the ones that she clocked in Athens.
“And in terms of level of performance, she has improved tremendously over the last three years and I think she will be ready to face any challenges that will come her way at the Olympic Games next year,” Mutsauki said.
Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News