From sports reporter
Government officials, sports administrators and coaches dominate Team Zimbabwe for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with only five athletes being part of the 18-person delegation for the global sports showcase, which is slated to take place July 23 through August 8.
The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) officially presented the Zimbabwe delegation in a ceremony on Wednesday that was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Five athletes, including swim duo Donata Katai and Peter Wetzlar, sprinter Ngoni Makusha, rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin and golfer Scott Vincent, will carry the country’s banner next month in Tokyo, Japan.
With the exception of Purcell-Gilpin, who will represent the country in the men’s two-man individual rowing, and golfer Vincent, the other three athletes will go to Japan via universal slots.
According to the universality rule, the National Olympic Committees (NOC) can report a male athlete and a female athlete regardless of the time if they do not have athletes of that sex who meet the standard of participation.
The failure of Zimbabwean athletes to qualify for the Olympics through qualifying events was attributed to a lack of meaningful investment in athlete development by the government and other stakeholders.
While the nation will send the fewest number of athletes to the Olympics since the country gained independence in 1980, as has become the norm in recent years, officials dominate the delegation with a total of 13 expected on the plane to Tokyo compared to just five athletes.
Some of the officials who will be part of the delegation to the Tokyo Olympics are the Chairman of the Sports and Recreation Commission, Gerald Mlotshwa, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Sports Chairman Mathias Tongofa, and Tariro Kadzirange, the PA of the Minister for Youth, Arts and Leisure Kirsty Coventry.
Minister Coventry, the country’s most successful Olympian, was not accepted into the Zimbabwe delegation as she is expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics as a member of the powerful board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Coventry chairs the IOC Athletes Commission but is expected to step down after this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The Zimbabwe team at the Olympics is led by ZOC Vice President Fredreck, who was recently named Chef de Mission of the country for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Ndlovu has taken on the role of Chief de Mission from Thabani Gonye, who will travel to the Games in his capacity as President. Gonye was elected ZOC President in April.
Other ZOC officials include the organization’s executive director, Stephen Mudawarima, and the team administrator, Memory Pakati.
Another curious addition to Team Zimbabwe’s delegation is the President of the Zimbabwe Golf Association, Mufaro Chivonivoni, who will travel to the Olympic Games as the “coach” of golf professional Scott Vincent.
Water sports – swimming
Athletes: Donata Katai, Peter Wetzlar
Trainer: Lindsy Tudor-Cole
Athlete: Ngoni Makusha
Trainer: Lisamsaid High
Athlete: Peter Purcell-Gilpin
Coach: James Alexander Stephenson
Athlete: Scott Vincent
Trainer / Team Leader: Joy Mirror
Chef de Mission: Fredreck Ndlovu
Team Admin: Memory Pakati
Physiotherapist and Covid 19 liaison officer: Abigail Mnikwa
ZOC President: Thabani Gonye
ZOC Chief Executive: Stephen Mudawarima
The Chairman of the Sports and Recreation Commission Gerald Mlotshwa, PA to the Minister Tariro Kadzirange, the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee Mathias Tongofa.