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Zimbabwe Swimming Sensation Donata Katai Fails to Qualify for Next Round in 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Zimbabwe's Donata Katai.
Zimbabwe's Donata Katai.

Zimbabwe’s teenage swimming sensation, Donata Katai, failed on Sunday to reach the semi-finals of the 100 meter backstroke despite recording a personal best and coming first in her heat at the Aquatics Center in Tokyo, Japan.

Despite this setback, Frederick Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Olympics Committee told VOA Studio 7 that Donata performed well and has a bright future in swimming.

“Donata was on fire today. We enjoyed ourselves very much. She came first in her heat and broke her best personal record, which was a great achievement … It was really an exciting moment for us, far away from home. She did us proud. But unfortunately she did not make it to the top 16 in terms of time. So, she will no longer be continuing because of that.”

She will soon be heading home after failing to make it to the semi-finals. Donata clocked 1:02:73 seconds in the heat, beating Patel Maane of India and Kimberley Ince of Grenada.

Another Zimbabwean, rower Peter Purcell Gilpin, also failed to make it to the top two categories after coming sixth in his last heat.

Ndlovu said Gilpin could have been hit by fatigue after competing on three consecutive days, unlike some of the competitors.

“This was his third day competing in the rowing event. On the first day he came fourth. He just missed third position by a fraction of a second and so he had to go for it yesterday where he did extremely well. He came first. So, he rejoined the top team for today’s competition. So, it (competition) was supposed to be held tomorrow but because of the threat of a typhoon, the event was brought forward. Today he came out sixth. It was a great performance though for Peter but probably fatigue caught up with him because he competed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday unlike the people he was competing against who had a rest yesterday (Saturday). He did not have an opportunity to rest like the other opponents.”

He said after coming sixth in the rowing event on Sunday, Peter fell in the third or fourth category in terms of rankings.

“You know in rowing, the first day those who came last fell into category E and F. It’s more like rankings. So, he made it to possibly to category A and B but today he could not make it. He came sixth. So, automatically he is out of category A and B but he has a possibility of making it to Category C or D. The medals are in A and B.”

The other three sportspersons representing Zimbabwe in the games are Scott Vincent (golf), Ngoni Makusha (100 meter dash) and Wetzlar.

Ndlovu noted that a typhoon can disrupt their events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

“We are yet to see what is going to happen going forward as from tomorrow. Like I said for Peter (Purcell Gilpin) he was supposed tomorrow but had to compete today. The event had to be rescheduled because of the typhoon threat. The next event has been provisionally set for the 29th. We are yet to confirm depending on what is going to happen tomorrow.”

Tokyo Olympics sports director Mikako Kotani told the Associated Press that they are “closely discussing” issues around the severe weather forecast, as Japan prepares for Typhoon Nepartak to hit the island nation.

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