Zimbabwe’s hopes for an Olympic medal were dashed Friday evening when defending gold medalist Kirsty Coventry came sixth in the 200meter backstroke finals in London.
All hopes were pinned on Coventry to bring a medal home after her impressive performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she won four medals, a single gold in the women’s 200 meter backstroke and three silvers in the 400 meter individual medley, 200 meter individual medley and women’s 100 meter backstroke.
Popularly known as the "Golden Girl", a nickname she received from President Robert Mugabe after her Beijing performance, Coventry has been flying the country's flag high despite lack of adequate funding from the Government and injury during her preparations for the London Olympics.
Ahead of Coventry's final race at the London Olympics critics were divided over her ability to secure a medal with some citing injury and age as her main challenges and others hoping her experience from previous games would assist her in landing at least one medal.
In an earlier interview with Voice Of America's Studio 7 reporter Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye, head of the Zimbabwe Olympic delegation in London Busi Chindove said she was hopeful that Coventry would successfully defend her gold medal.
"Olympiads are not nominated they have to perform and qualify for a place in the Olympics, so we are proud of each and every one of our athletes at the games including those that may not succeed in securing a medal," said Chindove.
Zimbabwe is also represented in the games by triathlete Chris Felgate, Rower Jamie Fraser McKenzie and the marathon trio of Cuthbert Nyasango, Wirimayi Zhuwao and Sharon Tawengwa.