SEVEN-time Olympic medallist Kirsty Coventry will carry Zimbabwe’s flag into the Rio Olympics opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
Kirsty Coventry (centre) led her delegation during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in the British capital
Media reports at the weekend had suggested that that honour would be bestowed on sprinter Gabriel Mvumvure, but the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (Zoc) yesterday announced it is the swimming sensation who will play the sentimental role in her Olympic swansong.
Zoc also announced long distance runner Tatenda Tsumba would be the team’s tree bearer at the Games, which will run from August 5-21.
|Kirsty Coventry is Zimbabwe Flag-bearer at #Rio2016|
It is the second time that Coventry will lead Team Zimbabwe at the Olympics after she acted in the same capacity at the 2012 London Olympics.
Other Olympians who have led Team Zimbabwe at the Olympics are Abel Nkhoma (1980), Zephaniah Ncube (1984), James Gombedza (1988), Tendai Chimusasa (1996), Phillip Mukomana (2000), Talkmore Nyongani (2004), and Brian Dzingai in 2008.
The 32-year-old will kickstart her campaign by taking part in the heats of the 100m backstroke next Sunday at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio.
Coventry, who shares the record of seven individual medals with Hungarian swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi, could become the first female swimmer to win eight individual medals.
While her biggest shot at a record eighth Olympic medal in Rio lies in her signature event — the 200m backstroke — Coventry will also compete in the 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley.
Zimbabwe Rio Olympic squad:
Aquatics (Swimming): Kirsty Coventry, Sean Gunn
Archery: Gavin Sutherland
Athletics: Wirimai Juwawo, Gabriel Mvumvure, Pardon Ndhlovu, Rutendo Nyahora, Cuthbert Nyasango, Tatenda Tsumba
Equestrian: Camilla Kruger
Rowing: Andrew Peebles, Micheen Thornycroft.
Shooting: Michael Nicholson
Mighty Warriors: Kudakwashe Bhasopo, Eunice Chibanda, Chido Dzingirai, Erina Jeke, Daisy Kaitano, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Lindiwe Magwede, Rutendo Makore, Sheila Makoto, Talent Mandaza, Emmaculate Msipa, Lynett Mutokuto, Felistas Muzongondi, Rudo Neshamba, Marjory Nyaumwe, Samkelisiwe Zulu, Mavis Chirandu, Nobuhle Majika