ICONIC Zimbabwean swimmer, Kirsty Coventry led the plaudits for Micheen Thornycroft after the rower kept her dreams of winning a maiden Olympics medal alive by storming into semi-finals of the women singles sculls in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil yesterday. Coventry, the finest African Olympian in history, hailed Thornycroft on her Instagram account after the rower finished second in her quarter-final heat to book her place in the semi-final.“Zimbabwe rower, @mousethorny, has just qualified for semi-finals,” said Coventry. “Let’s Go Micheen! Let’s Go Zimbabwe! #rowing #Olympics #zimbabwe.”
Coventry’s post had been retweeted 70 times as of late last night.
Thornycroft, the 29-year-old rower who was also part of Team Zimbabwe at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, came second in her quarter-final heat behind Danish rower Fie Udby Erichsen who won the battle in 07:34.38s.
The Zimbabwean rower held on for second place, which was enough to take her into the semi-finals, after coming home in 07:34:38s.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Senegal, Trudy Stevenson, also hailed Thornycroft who received a lot of praise from Zimbabweans on Twitter yesterday.
What They Said On Twitter
Amazing Mouse (Thornycroft calls herself Mouse). Truly inspiring the young generation of our ZIM
Congratulations, watched you live today, proud of you. Go Africa team, sad Nigeria is out from the game, but we Africans look to you in rowing
Get it girl
Go Team Zim, we proud of you Micheen
Congrats Mouse, so proud of you
Eyelashes by Maddie
Well done @mousethorny. I watched you as you rowed it away!!!!!!Super, super happy ,so proud of you. Thank you for lifting our flag up high.
Come on Zimbabwe
Proud of you guys
Four years ago, Thornycroft was part of a team of rowers who took part in the rowing edition of the Ubunye Challenge.
The 24-hour rowing challenge was an initiative to raise about $300 000 in order to finance educational projects in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Rowing Association of Zimbabwe technical director, Rachel Davis, yesterday said they had anticipated such a performance from the 29-year-old.
Thornycroft spent the last two years in South Africa training for the Olympics and qualified for this year’s Games in Brazil last year.
“Her making it into the A/B final was great. It was expected, she has trained very hard in the build up to the Olympics. We expected her to be there.
“Her next race, the A/B semi-final will be the toughest. Last time (in London) she was in the C final. If she comes top three in the A/B semis then she will go for the A final which is top six boats. And those boats are in contention for medals.
“At the moment the lowest she can go is 12th in the world,” said Davis.
Davis, who worked with Thornycroft as her coach for the 2012 Olympics, said although it’s difficult to compare the times as the weather conditions during a particular race also contributes, the fact that the Zimbabwean rower has beaten some of the athletes she has not beaten before was a good sign.
Thornycroft will go out tomorrow hoping for another good outing as she fights for a place in the finals.
In archery, Zimbabwe’s Gavin Sutherland was eliminated in the men’s individual elimination event by the world’s number one Kim Woo-jin from South Korea on Monday.