NEW YORK. — The 11th edition of the African Games is coming full circle, as the host of the original Games back in 1965, Congo Brazzaville, is set to host the continental competition again for the 2015 version. The 2015 African Games, which encompasses a total of 34 sporting disciplines, is set to kick-off today, with swimming events slated to take place from September 6-11.
The multi-national meet, which takes place every four years, has seen some big stars take the swimming stage in the past.
Cameron Van der Burgh, Chad Le Clos (both of South Africa), Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry and Farida Osman of Egypt all hold records from previous Games, as well as Darian Townsend now-American citizen still competed for South Africa.
This year’s competition will carry over most of those African swimming powerhouses, most likely with the Olympic hopefuls taking advantage of the big stage as additional preparation for Rio.
South Africa’s Games roster includes such primetime athletes as Myles Brown, Calvyn Justus, Karin Prinsloo, as well as the aforementioned Van der Burgh and Le Clos.
Coventry has also confirmed her participation at the meet, representing her home country Zimbabwe.
This will be Coventry’s third African Games appearance, having already competed at the 2007 and 2011 editions. She holds an impressive five meet records across the 50m/100m/200m backstroke and the 200m IM and 400m IM events.
Coventry recently qualified for her fifth Olympic Games, securing her spot in Rio with her 100m backstroke time of 1:00.09 at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
FINA visited the country of Congo in December 2014 in an effort to elevate the level of officiating skills among the local resources in preparation for these Games.
At that time, Congo currently had no technical officials or judges who could officiate major events, but, after having been awarded the Games, the country prioritised training.
The country collaborated with FINA in the hopes of not having to invest in the costly procurement of outside officials for the meet.