ZIMBABWE are likely to be represented at the Winter Olympic Games of Sochi 2014 — a first for the nation.
One athlete has already been short listed in the discipline of Men’s Alpine Skiing and the identification process is ongoing for elite potential candidates to the Winter Olympic Games which will be held in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014.
The Winter Olympic Sports programme consists of seven sporting disciplines, namely biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing.
Top of the list is a young male skier Luke Henri Steyn (20), a young Zimbabwean who is competing on the Federation of International Skiing (FIS) circuit where he has already achieved a good points ranking.
Heri Steyn is currently training in New Zealand and using ongoing events to gain qualification points for the Games. The FIS uses a complicated points system for qualification, which basically starts all athletes old enough to race on the FIS circuit (16 years old) on 999.99 points in five Alpine Skiing disciplines — Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super-Combined.
The best in the world is on 0 points; there can only be one athlete on 0 points at one time. Therefore the aim of every ski racer is to work their way down to 0 points. Every race gives an athlete the chance to lower points.
Henri Steyn has trained and raced from his family base in Europe since the age of 9.
In 2012 he joined the USCSA race team at the University Of Boulder in Colorado, United States, from where he has been able to continue his training and racing career.
He is now taking a year off university in an effort to achieve the required number of points to enable him to fulfil his dream and compete at the 2014 Olympics. Henri Steyn will augment his qualification chances by competing on the European circuit when it opens, nearer the end of the year.
He has already qualified for Giant Slalom and is working on four more results required in Slalom in order to qualify. The Winter Olympic Games qualification window is open until January 20, 2014.
Following the recognition of the Zimbabwe Snow Sports Association of Zimbabwe by the Sports Commission and its subsequent affiliation to the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, preparations and logistics are well underway to ensure the participation of any qualified athlete at this global multidisciplinary event.
ZOC President Admire Masenda indicated that the ZOC Board had been aware of this possible development as early as December 2012 and to this end had appointed seasoned administrator Mrs. Kathy Lobb as the Chef de Mission.