All eyes on Nyasango, Juwawo, Ndlovu for Team Zim
CAN Team Zimbabwe salvage something at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil, which come to a close in the South American country tomorrow?
After yet another barren Games, all eyes will be fixed on the trio of Cuthbert Nyasango, Wirimai Juwawo and Pardon Ndlovu, who will take to the road in the men’s marathon, which is part of the closing events tomorrow.
The task is now left to the three long distance runners and speaking from Brazil, National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe president, Tendai Tagara, who travelled as the athletics team manager hinted that it’s not going to be any easy task.
“Nyasango and Juwawo are battle hardened cadres. They have been training together hence can push each other and they can stand the heat. But because of the weather I can see slow times.
“Pardon is also in good shape and he will definitely do well,” said Tagara.
Only seven time Olympic medallist Kirsty Coventry and rower Micheen Thornycroft offered Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope of having a podium finish.
Although she could not match the pace of young athletes in her swansong Olympics, to her credit Coventry battled hard to reach the finals of the 200m backstroke where she came sixth.
The swimming icon who has won seven of Zimbabwe’s eight Olympic medals also reached the semi-finals of the 100m backstroke.
Thornycroft, making her second appearance at the Games, was outstanding in the women’s single sculls when she battled her way to the final B and was positioned 11th out of 32 athletes.
The 29-year-old rower had made it to the semi-final A/B1 but had to qualify for final A to be in a position to compete for a podium finish.
While Coventry and Thornycroft managed to go beyond their heats, the same cannot be said for the rest of Team Zimbabwe.
The Mighty Warriors, who made their Olympic debut were eliminated in group stages when they lost all the Group F matches against Germany, Canada and Australia despite putting a spirited fight to the end.
Camilla Kruger completed the individual event in equestrian on position 35 on the final standings out of the 45 ranked participants with a total score of 111.80.
Andrew Peebles took first position in the men’s single sculls E final after failing to make direct qualification into the main finals and finished overall 25.
Another swimmer, Sean Gunn came second in heat two of the men’s 100m freestyle in 50.87s but could not qualify for the semi-finals. His overall ranking is 48.
Gavin Sutherland was ranked 64 in archery with a score of 566 while Michael Nicholson finished 19th in the double trap shooting with 119 points.
Athletics had six athletes with Gabriel Mvumvure and Tatenda Tsumba fighting for honours in the men’s 100m and 200m respectively but they both could not stand the heat,
Mvumvure came seventh in heat five for the 100m in 10.28s while Tsumba settled for position six in the 200m in 21.04s.
Female long distance-runner, Rutendo Nyahora finished on position 92 in 2hrs 47mins 32sec in the women’s marathon. Commenting on athletics, Tagara said although they had expected better results from the three athletes that have so far completed their events, it all goes down to resources.
“Athletics is about training and competing and it boils down to resources. We just have to have close relationships with our neighbouring countries who are performing, a positive attitude and 120 percent commitment to training on our athletes. It takes great commitment to be at that level.