Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kirsty Coventry has plans to set up a swimming academy in Harare.
Speaking at a public forum called ‘Food For Thought’ facilitated by the US Embassy, Public Affairs Section on Tuesday, Coventry said she aims to uplift swimming in Zimbabwe. “We have identified talent but there is no funding. We need mechanisms and structures in place in Zimbabwe to give all that deserve recognition and opportunity in sports,” she said.
Coventry, who was recently elected into the International Olympic Committee, has been offering training to students in junior schools in the city. Now, she says, her academy will benefit Zimbabwe as a whole.
“Zimbabwe has a lot of talent and we have fallen behind. Now we are trying to rebuild, taking one step at a time,” she explained.
However, while she bemoans the lack of sponsorship as a stumbling block to her initiative, she hailed the separation of ministry as potentially creating opportunities for sports related funding in Zimbabwe.
In support of the academy, Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Thabetha Kanengoni Malinga highlighted the fact that Coventry is giving back to community.
“I encourage other people who have resources, corporate companies and the government to come in so that we are able to groom a lot of sports talents coming up,” Malinga said.
The 30-year old national swimming icon has also declared that she will be pursuing her swimming talent further. She will be representing the country in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, with the hope to even compete in the 2020 Olympics, saying the future still looks so bright. She told the audience that her pillars to success are guided by sacrifice, perseverance and believing in yourself.
Despite losing in the Olympics last year in London, she promises to do her best and is glad to have created history for the country.