Zimbabwe is looking forward to adding more Olympic medals to its cache as it has sent its largest ever team of athletes to this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The games, which begin today and end on 21 August, will feature a record-breaking 31 Zimbabwean athletes taking part hoping to add to the country’s current eight medals.
For the first time in history, Zimbabwe has sent a football team to the Olympics, the female squad affectionately known as the Mighty Warriors, who qualified late last year to much fanfare. Zimbabwe will be represented in six other disciplines including: athletics, swimming, rowing, equestrian, shooting, and archery.
The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) hosted a fundraising dinner last month for the prestigious sports competition which was attended by corporates and individuals in support of the athletes.
ZOC President Admire Masenda also revealed that they have received financial assistance from the International Olympic Committee and from government through the Ministry of Sport and Recreation. The funding will be used to cater to the needs of the 57-strong delegation which includes 26 officials.
Athletes were also treated to a colourful send-off by President Robert Mugabe who encouraged them to uphold fair play and represent the country well.
For the first time athletes from all over the world are travelling to take part in Olympic games amidst fears of a regional epidemic of the zika virus. The virus, which leads to birth defects, is believed to be transmitted by mosquitoes, although it is now strongly suspected that it can be sexually transmitted as well. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has since declared the virus a global health emergency.
Because it is believed that the virus can be sexually transmitted, the Minister of Health, Dr. Parirenyatwa urged athletes to use condoms if engaging in sexual intercourse.
2016 Zimbabwe Olympic team
Aquatics (swimming): Kirsty Coventry, Sean Gunn; Coach: Macdonald Brackin; Manager: Lorna Riley
Archery: Gavin Sutherland; Coach/Manager: Gary Kinghorn
Athletics: Wirimai Juwawo, Gabriel Mvumvure, Pardon Ndhlovu, Rutendo Nyahora, Cuthbert Nyasango, Tatenda Tsumba; Coaches: Benson Chauke, Phakamile Lisimati; Manager: Tendai Tagara
Equestrian: Camilla Kruger; Coach: Darrell Scaiffe; Groom: Faye Bryant; Vet: Daniel Carroll
Football: (Mighty Warriors) Kudakwashe Bhasopo, Eunice Chibanda, Chido Dzingirai, Erina Jeke, Daisy Kaitano, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Lindiwe Magwede, Rutendo Makore, Sheila Makoto, Talent Mandaza, Emmaculate Msipa, Lynett Mutokuto, Felistas Muzongondi, Rudo Neshamba, Marjory Nyaumwe, Samkelisiwe Zulu, Mavis Chirandu, Nobuhle Majika; Head coach: Shadreck Mlauzi; Assistant coaches: Sithethelelwe Sibanda, Yohane Chikaola; Goalkeeper’s coach: Peter Masibera; Doctor: Dorothy Masawi; Physiotherapist: Sharon Mashingaidze; Manager: Charity Mudzviti
Rowing: Andrew Peebles, Micheen Thornycroft; Coach: Tiago Loureiro
Shooting: Michael Nicholson; Coach: Stuart Sylvester
Medical: Chief medical officer: Austin Jeans; Physiotherapists: Margaret Gibson, Madiki Machikicho, Nonhlanhla Mkumbuzi
Administration: Chef de Mission: Titus Zvomuya; Primrose Mhunduru, Memory Pakati
Image: Kirsty Coventry will be representing Zimbabwe at the Olympics along side many others.