Coventry rallies Team Zimbabwe . . . African Games travelling party unveiled OFF YOU GO . . . Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Minister Kirsty Coventry (fourth from right) shares a lighter moment with Rugby Sevens side during yesterday’s Team Zimbabwe send off ceremony in Harare

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

SPORT, Recreation, Arts and Culture Minister Kirsty Coventry has urged Team Zimbabwe to raise the country’s flag high when they compete at the African Games in Ghana this month.

The 13th edition of the will roar into life in Accra on March 8 and run until March 23.

Zimbabwe, who have been regular campaigners at the quadrennial Games, will field athletes in 10 sport codes — athletics, chess, cricket (men and women), cycling, judo, karate, tennis, triathlon, swimming and rugby.

The minister was speaking at a send-off ceremony organised for Team Zimbabwe during, which she conducted a blazer presentation to those athletes and team officials, who are currently in the country.

“It is very exciting the All-Africa Games that were supposed to happen last year is finally happening. I know that it’s been a long wait and it’s been as frustrating for all of you as for us,’’ Coventry said.

“Ghana is a little bit behind and what we have then done, and what we did at the beginning of the year, I sent the director general of SRC, my director of sport and the permanent secretary to Ghana in January to review and see which facilities were actually ready. And hence the team.

“So, we did have a much bigger team with a much larger number. But in order to ensure that we can be responsible for ensuring that our athletes are taken care of, we have only chosen sports where we had full confirmation that the facilities were ready.

“So, we know that it was a little bit disappointing for some athletes not to be on the team.

“We have also selected athletes, who have podium performances and certain sports that we know could also potentially qualify for the Paris Games. And we are really looking forward to seeing our athletes competing,’’ she said.

The selection process included taking into consideration sport codes seeking qualification for the Olympic Games, since the continental event will also serve as a qualifier for some of the disciplines.

The technical team also looked at performance and the developmental aspect for some of the sport codes. Coventry urged the athletes to shine in Accra.

“Ghana have said they are ready to welcome everyone. As I said the facilities that we have seen, that we have selected, I believe are ready.

“We are waiting on a few confirmations regarding cycling and the routes that are still to be confirmed.

“But let’s go in with the best intentions and have fun, enjoy yourselves, be proud Zimbabweans and do the best that you can.”

Some of the athletes who are part of Team Zimbabwe, are not currently in the country due to various reasons.

The Lady Chevrons are in India for a training camp. Some of the triathletes are in South Africa for a competition tomorrow the tennis players have been busy in various tournaments, building up for the Games.

Sport and Recreation Commission director-general Eltah Nengomasha is the Chef De Mission for the team and is already in Ghana.

Some of the athletes who were at the send-off ceremony could not hide their excitement at being selected.

Karateka Tapiwa Nyikadzino, who is going to compete in the Under-67kg, said he is delighted to be part of Team Zimbabwe.

“This means a lot to me. It’s like a lifetime achievement. We have been hoping to go there and now we are here.

“So, we are going to go there and do our best. Preparations were okay. Sometimes tough, but we pick ourselves up and then we keep going.

“We have been working, we are still working and we will keep working until we get there, until the fight is over. “So we are hoping for better results, being on the podium and flying our flag high,” said Nyikadzino.

Swimmer Vhenekai Dhemba also has great expectations.

“It’s definitely a mixture of excitement and nerves,’’ Dhemba said.

“But I am just trying to stay motivated and as positive as I can and be optimistic about how my performance will be at the Games.

“Mentally, I am feeling quite prepared. I have just been telling myself I can perform to the best that I can and I have put in the training and time into my performance, so hopefully it shows and it pays off.

“I think it definitely will because I am getting the chance to compete with different people, in a different environment that I am not used to. And it definitely helps with my exposure and for the future.

“It will help me to adjust as well.

“There is always hope for a medal.

“But I just want to improve my personal times in the events that I am swimming,” said Dhemba.

Dhemba is set to compete in 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke.

Among those at yesterday’s ceremony were the permanent secretary in the Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Ministry Nicholas Moyo, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Chamu Chiwanza, Goromonzi West legislator Beatrice Nyamupinga and Sports Commission chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa, team coaches and officials.

Mlotshwa expressed gratitude to the various stakeholders for their commitment to sport and development of athletes.

TEAM ZIMBABWE

Athletics: Ashley Kamangirira, Kelvin Chiku, Rutendo Nyahora, Isaac Mpofu, Ngoni Makusha, Busani Ndlovu, Gerren Muwishi (captain), Dickson Kamungeremu, Artwell Allington Simon, Leeford Zuze, Wellington Varevi, Bradley Makuvire, Aaron Whyte (team manager), Faith Dube (coach).

Cricket Women: Mary-Anne Musonda, Sharne Mayers, Josephine Nkomo, Precious Marange, Audrey Mazvishaya, Nomvelo Sibanda, Kelis Ndhlovu, Chiyedza Dhururu, Loreen Tshuma, Nyasha Gwanzura, Francisca Chipare, Lindokuhle Mabhera, Modester Mupachikwa, Kudzai Chigora, Pellagia Mujaji, Keith Kulinga (batting coach), Caroline Chamunorwa (manager), Farai Mabasa (physiotherapist), Traver Garwe (bowling coach), Walter Chawaguta (head coach).

Cricket Men: Tadiwanashe Marumani, Brian Bennett, Falao Alex, Tony Munyonga, Nick Welch, Jonathan Campbell, Owen Mzondo, Takudzwa Chataira, Trevor Gwandu, Ashley Mufandauya, Wallace Mubaiwa, Tashinga Musekiwa, Kudakwashe Macheka, Rodney Mupfudza, Clive Madande (Captain), Elton Chigumbura (Head Coach), Njabulo Ncube (bowling coach), Tarisayi Sembezeya (manager), Travor Vambe (physiotherapist), Stephen Mangongo (technical advisor).

Cycling: Skye Davidson, Stacey Hyslop, Rodrick Shumba, Elton Muchemwa (head coach), Albert Kirevha (mechanic).

Tennis: Benjamin Lock (captain), Benedict Badza, Tatenda Mutetwa, Takanyi Garanganga, Rufaro Magarira (captain), Sasha Chimedza, Tadiwanashe Mauchi, Courtney Lock, Tanyaradwa Midzi, Ellen Chifamba (manager).

Triathlon: Andie Kuipers (captain), Lorna Doorman, Rohnan Nicholson, Callum Smith, Martin Mbofana (coach), Pamela Fulton (coach).

Judo: Christi-Rose Pretorius, Majaji Musariri (captain), Simbarashe Mashayi (team manager).

Rugby 7s: Vuyani Dhlomo, Tapiwa Mafura, Godfrey Magaramombe, Kudakwashe Nyamakura, Tapiwa Malenga (captain), Tatenda Matoramusha, Hilton Mudariki (captain), Ryan Musumhi, Edward Sigauke,, Carlos Matematema, Nigel Tinarwo, Dion Khumalo, Trevor Gurwe, Munyaradzi Ngandu,, Shadreck Mandaza, Ricky Chirengende (coach), Tafadzwa Mhende (team manager).

Karate: Tapiwa Nyikadzino, Tanyaradzwa Ziwira (captain), Winston Nyanhete (team manager)

Chess: Linda Shaba, Jemusse Zhemba, James Vhezha (coach).

Swimming: Joash McKonie, Donata Katai, Denilson Cyprianos, Liam Davis, Benjamin Rorke, Bjorn Mhlanga, captain Paige Van Der Westhuizen, Vhenekai Dhemba and Olivia Accorsi, Mikyala Makwabarara, Shereen Tafadzwa Lemon (manager), Kathleen Moira Lobb (coach).

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