Coventry aims for the stars

kirsty_with_gold_medalHARARE - Zimbabwes swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry (Pictured) plans to make the London 2012 Olympics a stage to celebrate her personal achievements to date while retaining the world championship title in the pool.

Coventry, who stamped authority as a world champion at the Athens, Greece Summer Olympic games in 2004 when she won three Olympic medals – a gold, a silver, and a bronze – believes the best of her is still to come in future competitions.

This will be my fourth Olympics and hopefully less stressful than the last three. It is not about making a name for myself but I want to take the time to enjoy London 2012 more as well as retaining the number one position, she told The Zimbabwean from America.

Yes, I have achieved at the highest level. What keeps me going is knowing that I can still improve; this makes me want to see how far I can push my body and myself to get faster. No matter who we are or what we do, there is always room for improvement. A number of other countries have taken advantage of Zimbabwean talent as political and economic conditions at home force the best sportsmen and women to flee the country – to play for the top teams of foreign countries.

A number of Zimbabwean football stars, including Knowledge Musona, Esrom Nyandoro, Nyasha Mushekwi, Energy Murambadoro and Khama Billiart, are plying their trade in the South African leagues – robbing the local premiership of great talent.

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union has one of the best youth development policies in the country that has seen such competitions as the Cottco Schools festival befitting the label the bakery of young talent. But it has not been the local senior sides that has benefitted from this achievement in recent years.

Zimbabwean Tendai Beast Mtawarira was granted a South African citizenship last year while tennis ace Cara Black reportedly applied for one back in 2007. Motorsport teen star Axcil Jefferies is currently racing under the British flag after he was granted a sponsorship his country was incapable of offering and he had to abide by the FIA rules to race under the flag of the country in which he is based.

But Coventry, who has been offered citizenship in several countries remains loyal to her country insisting I am a born and bred Zimbabwean, how could I perform under another flag? without shame of being associated with a country that has been grabbing international headlines for the wrong reasons in recent years.

Sport brings people from all over the world together. I think people involved in swimming are more interested in what stroke you swim and how fast your times have been recently, not where you are from. Its all about the next race, not who you are or what you have done in the past, she said.

Her achievements have been recognized by many Zimbabweans in many different ways. Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka described her as our national treasure while President Robert Mugabe named her a golden girl, before awarding her $100,000 in cash for her 2008 Olympic performance. In 2004 several newborn babies in the country were named Kirsty after her, while some were given the middle name Coventry after her success in Greece.

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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