04-24-17 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Coventry standing for election as Zimbabwe Olympic Committee VP

Double Olympic gold medallist Kirsty Coventry is to stand for election as vice-president of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC), it has been announced.

The 33-year-old swimmer from Harare has been a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission since 2012 but has never stood for election to the ZOC.

She currently acts as a consultant for the organisation.

Coventry, winner of the Olympic 200 metres backstroke at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, is also standing for the position of Women in Sport.

The ZOC Elective General Assembly is due to take place at Prince Edward School in Harare on Sunday (April 30).

They will be electing a President, two vice-presidents, a treasurer and seven Board members.

Admire Masenda will be standing for a fourth term as President but will be challenged by Thabani Gonye, the ZOC vice-president and secretary general of Athletics Zimbabwe, and Charles Mukaronda, former manager of the Zimbabwe under-23 football team.

Gonye had also stood against Masenda,  former President of the Basketball Union of Zimbabwe, four years ago but was beaten by 22 votes to 14.

Masenda, who took over as ZOC President from Paul Chingoka in 2006, has been nominated for another term by the Zimbabwe Football Association.

Kirsty Coventry is Zimbabwe's greatest-ever athlete, winning seven of the country's eight Olympic medals, including gold at Beijing and Athens 2004 in the 200m backstroke ©Getty Images
Kirsty Coventry is Zimbabwe’s greatest-ever athlete, winning seven of the country’s eight Olympic medals, including gold at Beijing and Athens 2004 in the 200m backstroke ©Getty Images

Masenda had promised following his re-election in 2013 that he would raise the standard of sport in Zimbabwe after the country sent only seven athletes in four sports to London 2012.

At Rio 2016 they sent a team of 31 in seven sports, including their women’s football team, who qualified for the Olympics for the first time.

It was the biggest team Zimbabwe had ever sent to the Olympics.

Zimbabwe’s best performance came from Coventry, sixth in the 200m backstroke.

Besides Coventry, other candidates for one of the two vice-president positions include Frederick Ndlovu, President of the Zimbabwe Volleyball Association, and Martin Kweza, vice-chair of the Northern Region Division One Soccer League.

Coventry can claim to be Zimbabwe’s greatest-ever athlete.

Of the eight Olympic medals won by the country since they made their debut at Moscow in 1980, she has won seven of them.

Apart from her two gold medals, she has also won four silver and bronze.

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