ZIMBABWE’S swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry waved goodbye to the African Games soon after capturing three gold medals in another historic feat for her country at the continental sporting showcase in Congo Brazzaville on Friday night.
By winning the women’s 200m backstroke in Friday night’s final in 2:13.29, Coventry successfully completed her triple three-peat at the African Games. Coventry has earned gold in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m IM events at the 2007, 2011 and now the 2015 editions of the meet.
Of her incredible feat, Coventry commented via social media: “I did it – Triple Threepeat! 3x African Champion in 3 events, 3x in a row: 100m Backstroke, 200m Individual Medley and now the 200m Backstroke.
“Sacrifices, perseverance, self-belief and your (fans) support have been essential in achieving this accomplishment.”
Coventry also confirmed that this year represents her final African Games appearance.
“This will be my final All-Africa Games so thank you to all of you, my parents, my husband, my coaches and my team, and Econet Zimbabwe for your support,” she said.
Coventry, one of the most successful swimmers to come from the African continent, won her third gold medal of the 2015 African Games on Friday night. It marked her third time completing the triple at the continental championships, going back to 2007 and 2011.
She wrapped up the meet with a win in the 200 backstroke to go along with her victories in the 100 back and 200 IM earlier in the week.
Coventry didn’t swim her fastest times of the year in Brazzaville, but didn’t need to in order to secure gold.
In the 200 backstroke, which she won at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, she posted a 2:13.29 to beat South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo’s 2:14.31. Tunisia’s Rim Ouennich shattered the national record of 2:21.90 with a 2:20.16 for the bronze medal.
Majda Chebaraka of Algeria added the 1500 free to her list of victories at the meet to go along with her 800 free gold medal.
Chebaraka won the mile in 17:07.82, breaking the national record of 17:17.38 by Souad Cherouati from last year. Charlise Oberholzer of South Africa was second with a 17:11.34, while Cherouati settled for bronze with a 17:18.35.
Devon Brown also picked up a second gold medal, this time in the 200 IM with a 2:01.71. Mohamed Khaled of Egypt was second in 2:02.38, just missing his national record of 2:02.29 from the 2013 world championships. South Africa’s Ayton Sweeney placed third with a 2:04.22.
The session started with three men dipping under 23 seconds to take the top three spots in the 50 free final.
South Africa’s Douglas Erasmus took gold in 22.61, while Egypt’s Mazen Elkamash was second in 22.97. South Africa’s Clayton Jimmie rounded out the podium with a 22.98 for third place.
The women’s and men’s 400 medley relay closed out the competition, and South Africa won the four-team women’s final with a 4:12.36. Egypt was second with a 4:15.18, while Tunisia was third in 4:29.64. Kenya rounded out the field with a 4:43.85.
In the men’s race, Egypt capped off an incredible week with a victory over the South Africans, 3:42.44 to 3:42.85.
Youssef Elkamash took the lead for Egypt in the breaststroke leg, and the team held on to win their second men’s relay gold of the meet. Tunisia was third with a 3:52.00. Egypt broke the meet record of 3:44.92, which had been set by the South Africans in 2007. — Swim Swam-Swimming Magazine.