2020 a crucial year for Zim Olympic hopefuls

By ZBC reporter

WITH rowing currently, the only sport to secure Olympic qualification, the coming months will be crucial in determining the number of athletes that Zimbabwe will be sending to the Tokyo 2020 games.

Zimbabwe fielded a team of 31 athletes, 9 men and 22 women at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Athletes drawn from 7 different sport codes did duty in Brazil with the qualification of the Mighty Warriors resulting in Zimbabwe sending its largest ever delegation to the Olympics.

This time around the Mighty Warriors will not be at the Olympics after being walked over in the second leg of their Olympic qualifier against Zambia with the first leg having ended in a 5-nil defeat.

To date only, rowing is guaranteed a slot although other sport codes have the potential of qualifying for Tokyo.

“So far we are guaranteed of rowing but prospects are high having about 7 or 8 athletes qualifying. We have Camilia Kruger of Equestrian challenging for a place so are some athletes as well as boxers. Brendon De Jonge is currently in the top 60 on the PGA tour so golf also has a big chance of earning qualification. We are also supporting the Zimbabwe sevens rugby team which will be going through a repechage,” said Thabani Gonye Team Zimbabwe Chef de Mission.

Zimbabwe sent 31 athletes to Rio 2016, where the country made its 10th consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games, across seven sports.

This year will be their 11th successive appearance at the games after the 1980 Moscow debut games.

The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) is estimating sending a team of between five and 15 athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

ZOC secretary-general, Anna Mguni said the organisation was targeting qualification in 10 sports – archery, boxing, cycling, equestrian, golf, judo, rugby sevens, shooting, swimming and rowing.

Zimbabwe sent 31 athletes to Rio 2016, where the country made its 10th consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games, across seven sports.

Seven Zimbabwean athletes in sports such as athletics, equestrian, swimming and rowing have received Olympic Solidarity funding as part of their attempt to earn a place at Tokyo 2020.