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Zimbabwe Swimmer Peter Wetzlar Bows Out of 2020 Olympic Games After Breaking Own Record

FILE: Kirsty Coventry, a member of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, applauds as the team enters during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP)

Zimbabwe’s Peter Weztlar is out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games despite recording his personal best of 50.31 seconds today in the men’s 100-meter freestyle heat at the Aquatic Center in Japan.

In a message posted on its official Facebook page, the Zimbabwe Olympics Committee praised Peter for coming fifth in heat four and breaking his previous record.

“… The results are in!!! In 5th position in Heat 4. What a great reaction time from Peter!!! Hitting his PB (personal best) in a time of 50.31from a previous 50.50 and setting a new Zimbabwe men's 100m free style record!!! So much to celebrate about!!! Well done Peter!

“Hearty congratulations to Peter on his TOKYO2020 campaign. We celebrate your PB (personal best), national record and strong-willed representation and performance. Peter ranked 42 out of 70! and will not be proceeding to the next stage. The future is exciting!

Greatest appreciation to Peter Weztlar's coach, technical team and all behind the scenes support!”

Some people following the proceedings in Japan also praised Peter for his good performance. In a message posted on the Zimbabwe Olympics Committee’s Facebook page, Pamela Maravanyika said, “Peter, woow that was a brilliant swim. We are very proud of you. All your had work has paid off. What a huge achievement, making the Olympic qualifying times is outstanding on its own.”

Brenda Gray jurvis also praised Peter for his determination in achieving high goals. ‘Well done! Perfect place and time for a personal best and national record.

Peter’s colleague, Donata Katai, was eliminated in the women’s 100-meter backstroke event a few days ago though she came first in her heat and broke her previous record.

Head of the Zimbabwean delegation at the Olympics, Frederick Ndlovu, told VOA Zimbabwe Service on Monday that they are confident that the country’s athletes would do well in all events.

“Peter is currently based in the United States and is one of our champions in swimming. He is a young athlete and we have so much hope that this experience in Tokyo is going to be very vital especially as we prepare for France 2024. He has a middle chance (of winning) just like all of our current athletes. Our athletes are quite young and this is their first experience of the Olympics, so obviously there will be a lot of jitteriness and butterflies.”

Ndlovu said despite this setback, they expect good results from golfer Vincent Scott and 100-meter sprinter Ngoni Makusha.

“I’m positive that the performance of PPG (Peter Purcell Gilpin) in rowing when he came first on the second day and the performance of Donata has actually given the rest of the team a lot of confidence because they now believe that they can do it. So, it gives us the best platform and experience for Team Zimbabwe to prepare for France 2024.”

Peter and Donata won’t return today as they are still with the team.

“The swimming team is still around for a few more days so that they can have an appreciation of what’s going on and do some soul searching as far as what is happening to other athletes.”

Scott and Ngoni are preparing for their events set for Thursday and Saturday respectively. Peter Gilpin is also expected to compete on Thursday for his personal ranking in the rowing competition as he is already out of the race for medals.

Zimbabwe’s most decorated former athlete and current Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry, is in Japan cheering her team with some members of Team Zimbabwe.

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