ZIMBABWE’S swimming icon Kirsty Coventry reasserted her claim as the best female African swimmer of all time when she grabbed the first gold medal for her country at the on-going 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville on Tuesday night. The 2015 African Games continued with yet more wins for the South African contingent, a team who has been dominant thus far in the competition taking place in Congo Brazzaville. But, one lone Zimbabwean, Coventry, proved mighty enough to stop a full day’s worth of gold medals for South Africa on Day 3 of the meet on Tuesday, en route to making some history of her own.
Coventry was the only non-South African to stand atop the podium in Tuesday night’s finals session. Her time of 1:01.15 beat out the 100m backstroke field and gave Coventry her third consecutive African Games win in the event, having already claimed gold in the 2007 and 2011 editions of the Games in Algeria and Mozambique.
IN THE NEWS: COVENTRY
She holds the 100m backstroke African Games record with her 1:00.86 performance from 2011. Coventry also won the 200m backstroke event at both the 2007 and 2011 versions of the meet, therefore, the Zimbabwean is looking to three-peat across both of these backstroke races in the 2015 Games.
Coventry also still sits as the 200m record-holder in 2:10.66. But, the 31-year-old doesn’t stop there. Coventry is also looking to three-peat in the 200m IM, an event she has won in 2007 and 2001 as well. Guess who owns the 200m IM record? Yup, Coventry in 2:13.02 (2007).
The Sport and Recreation Commission who in charge of Team Zimbabwe to the Games were among the first to congratulate Coventry for her latest exploits.
“The Sport and Recreation Commission board, management and staff would like to express its hearty congratulations to Team Zimbabwe to the African Games and in particular Kirsty Coventry for winning their first gold medal at the Games. “Kirsty won a gold medal in 100m backstroke. This is not only a demonstration that Kirsty is still the Queen of the waters but it is a bold statement about her unquestionable commitment to serving our beloved country at any sporting event.
“Going forward it is the SRC’s hope and anticipation that other sporting persons from the registered 45 national associations will learn from Kirsty what patriotism and serving the nation is all about. “Kirsty a holder of seven Olympic medals and has been winning medals at the then All-Africa Games since 2007 but at no point has she ever turned on her country.
“”As the SRC we are generally pleased by her performance and we hope that the performance that she has just posted will spur the other teams to also do well during these Games.
“Once again Congratulations Kirsty and thank you for flying our flag high above other nations in Congo Brazzaville,’’ read a statement from the Commission. Former Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart also added his voice in congratulating Zimbabwe’s swimming sensation Coventry.
Coltart wrote on his FaceBook wall: “Kirsty Coventry won the 100 metre backstroke Gold this evening in Brazzaville in the All-Africa Games (now called African Games). “Kirsty will not be swimming tomorrow (yesterday) but swims again on Thursday and Friday. “Go Kirsty! Doing us all proud again. What a patriot!” wrote Coltart.
Meanwhile, to kick-off South Africa’s golden night on Tuesday, Karin Prinsloo doubled up on her 200m freestyle victory from earlier in the meet with a 400m freestyle victory. Her time of 4:18.86 was enough to hold off the competition today and give the South African her second individual win thus far. South African teammate, Tatjana Schoenmaker, also racked up her second victory, touching the wall first in the women’s 50m breaststroke. Her time of 32.49 earned her the gold to add to the 200m breaststroke win she claimed on day 2.
For the men, Clayton Jimmie would end up victorious in the men’s 100m freestyle in a time of 49.93, followed closely by Egypt’s Mohamed Samy who charged just behind in 49.97. The two would represent the only sub-50 second freestylers of the 100m field in Brazzaville.
Fly master Chad Le Clos was at it again for South Africa, taking the men’s 50m butterfly comfortably in his time of 23.51, a new championship record. Le Clos had already easily mastered the 100m butterfly earlier in the meet, clinching the gold in a time of 51.24. — Sports Reporter/Swim Swam.