Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Olympic Committee president Thabani Gonye says they are doing all they can to ensure athletes are prepared for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The Games are scheduled for July 26 to August 11.
Zimbabwe has two athletes, Isaac Mpofu (athletics) and Stephen Cox (rowing), who have already qualified for the Games. Both athletes are part of 10 recipients of the Olympic Solidarity Scholarships.
Other athletes on the programme are still in the qualification process.
Gonye said they have classified the two qualified athletes in a separate tier in terms of their support structure.
“In our reconfiguration of preparation at our last general assembly, the information was put in very clearly that we needed to classify the two athletes that have qualified in a separate tier in terms of our support structure. And what we need to do is to give them the most enabling preparation plan.
“And that is something that has already been done and we have their budgets that have also been shared with the parent Ministry and they are working to make sure that we are going to do our very best.
“So that’s basically the first tier level. We have done our best but we can do more with all the partners that coming on board,” said Gonye.
Mpofu is in camp in Harare under the guidance of seasoned coach Benson Chauke and Cox is training at the Sydney Rowing Club in Australia.
“As for Stephen, we went into a big cooperation agreement which we are working with the Australian NOC and also with partners in Australia.
“So we are very clear, the plan is there. We want these plans not to be only for a few weeks, but to be sustained through to the Games.
“So certainly we are very clear about where we are going, but we need all the partners to come and support the athletes. It’s really about the athletes,” Gonye said.
The ZOC is also expecting some athletes in the Olympic Scholarship programme to qualify.
They are also working with the likes of South Africa-based marathon runner Rutendo Nyahora, who is set to compete at the Vienna City Marathon in April and are hopeful that some athletes based in the United States will meet the qualifying standards in various events.
Golfer Scott Vincent is also among the hopefuls.
“We are still expecting a few that we are supporting through the Olympic Scholarship fund. We believe we will still have a few more, I think three or four can qualify from the various disciplines.
“But we are also looking at a bigger frame of preparation where we know we have a number of athletes that are in the US. They will have a season, the NCAA season that is coming up. We still expect a few to qualify.
“Isaac preparing is training with a few marathoners, which we believe will also create momentum on them to ride on his preparation to try and qualify. So I project that it’s still possible to get about eight.
“We challenged ourselves to double what we had in Tokyo from five to 10. If we fall short, we should get seven, but if we get 100 percent the better,” said Gonye