THE stage has been set for Zimbabwe Olympic Committee elections, with the major highlight at the unveiling of nominees yesterday being the candidature of swimming legend Kirsty Coventry. After years of leading Zimbabwe’s teams from the blue waters at the Olympic Games, Coventry now wants to be part of the administrative cast at ZOC where she has been nominated for the post of vice president.
ZOC yesterday released nominees for its upcoming elections, with Coventry vying for one of the two posts for vice president.
The elective general assembly will be held on April 30 at Prince Edward School and is expected to usher in a new board to lead the National Olympic Committee for the next four years.
Submissions for the 11 posts up for grabs on the board were officially closed on April 12.
The outgoing two vice presidents are Busi Chindove and Thabani Gonye who has also been nominated for the president’s post.
Other candidates contesting for the vice presidency are Northern Region Division One Soccer League vice chairperson Martin Kweza and Frederick Ndlovu.
Coventry is also in the running for the Women in Sport position alongside veteran netball administrator Letitia Chipandu.
The swimming icon who won seven of the country’s medals at the Olympics has a medal haul of two gold, four silver and one bronze from the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
In 2012 she was elected onto the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission and serves as a member for eight years.
As a member for the IOC Coventry sits on the IOC Athlete’s Commission and Tokyo 2020 Co-ordination Commission.
Although she could not be reached for comment despite repeated efforts to do so, Coventry is understood to have revealed to a number of member associations her keenness to administer sport at ZOC.
Now after securing nomination, Coventry has edged closer and could in 10 days’ time become part of the leadership that will take over at the Olympic body.
An interesting battle is also looming for the ZOC presidency with incumbent Admire Masenda seeking to extend his reign to nearly four terms.
Masenda has been the ZOC leader since 2006, but there are some young Turks such as ex Zimbabwe Karate Union president Joe Rugwete who have thrown their names into the hat and strongly believe that the Olympic body needs fresh blood.
Little known football administrator Charles Mukaronda will also take aim at toppling Masenda.
The former basketball administrator and coach will also have to shake off the challenge of perennial ZOC elections campaigner Gonye.
Firebrand karateka Rugwete, who was the deputy chef de mission at the 2015 African Games in Congo, Brazzaville also believes he is ripe to take over as ZOC president setting the stage for an exciting election.
It will be a two-horse race between Cleopas Nyangoni and Godfrey Sunguro for the post of treasurer.
There are 18 nominees for the seven board member positions — Chipandu, Addison Chiware, Coventry, Rick Fulton, Custom Kachambwa, Kweza, Titus Madzingo, Shinga Magede, Lovemore Malianga, Stonard Mapfumo, Tapiwa Masinire, Stephen Mudawarima, Mukaronda, Innocent Mukeredzi, Ndlovu, Celso Ribeiro, Rugwete and Tendai Tagara.
In a statement yesterday, ZOC chief executive, Anna Mguni said only national sport associations that are in good standing with the National Olympic Committee could nominate candidates for next week’s elections.
“Candidates for all posts were nominated by eligible national sport associations in good standing with the ZOC, those entitled to participate in the general assembly.
“With reference to the post of treasurer, candidates were expected to possess an accounting or financial qualification.
“All nomination forms received were verified and confirmed by the presidents of the nominating national sport associations, this included providing written and verifiable clarity where queries were raised.
“It is important to note that nominations were received directly from the national sport associations and are still subject to change depending on the decision or intention of the nominee, as at today (yesterday) the 19th of April, 2017, three contenders have formally withdrawn their candidature and one has declined nomination for one of the two positions as nominated,” read part of the statement.
ZOC are also expected to come clean at the weekend on the controversy surrounding a bid to have outgoing board members being allowed to cast votes, a move which the general assembly is understood to be strongly against.