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Kirsty Coventry reaches 200m backstroke final

Zimbabwe swimming sensation, Kirsty Coventry, qualified for the Women’s 200 metres Backstroke finals at the London Olympics after finishing second in Heat 2 of the semi-finals on Thursday in the evening.

Kirsty Coventry carries the hopes of a nation
Kirsty Coventry carries the hopes of a nation

Coventry, who finished in 2 minutes 08:32 seconds, however, qualified with the 6th best time. Having qualified for the semi-finals third in the morning heats, Coventry went slightly slower in the semi-finals with a controlled swim.

Coventry will fancy her chances in Friday night’s final in what is her only medal hope after failing to reach the 100m backstroke final on Sunday and coming sixth in the 200m individual medley final on Tuesday night.

Education, Sport and Culture Minister David Coltart this week said Coventry has done surprisingly well and overcame incredible odds including lack of financial support and injuries to reach the finals of the London Olympic games.

Education, Sport and Culture Minister Senator David Coltart seen here in London for the 2012 Olympics with Zimbabwean swimming legend Kirsty Coventry.
Education, Sport and Culture Minister Senator David Coltart seen here in London for the 2012 Olympics with Zimbabwean swimming legend Kirsty Coventry.

“I don’t think Zimbabweans really appreciate the obstacles that Kirsty has had to overcome. We always assume that gold medals are easy to come by, but the fact is after the Beijing games she effectively retired and she didn’t swim for over a year,” Coltart said.

“And when she came back into the sport she didn’t have the environment of her old university and her old coach. She has not had a lot of financial support and has been very isolated and only raced two competitive races prior to the London Olympics. So, when you compare that build up to all her competitors you will see that what she has achieved is absolutely remarkable,” Coltart added.

Businessman Strive Masiyiwa and Bulawayo-born Princess Charlene of Monaco are said to be among a few people who have supported Coventry.
Businessman Strive Masiyiwa and Bulawayo-born Princess Charlene of Monaco are said to be among a few people who have supported Coventry.

Zimbabwe is also being represented in London by triathlete Chris Felgate, Rower Jamie Fraser McKenzie and the marathon trio of Cuthbert Nyasango, Wirimayi Zhuwao and Sharon Tawengwa, who are all still to compete.

Results Table for the swimming

 Semi-final 2
 1.  Missy Franklin (U.S.)               2 minutes 6.84 seconds 
 2.  Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe)       2:08.32                
 3.  Sinead Russell (Canada)             2:08.76                
 4.  Stephanie Proud (Britain)           2:09.04                
 5.  Belinda Hocking (Australia)         2:09.35                
 6.  Daryna Zevina (Ukraine)             2:09.70                
 7.  Jenny Mensing (Germany)             2:10.68                
 8.  Karin Prinsloo (South Africa)       2:11.42                

 Semi-final 1
 1.  Elizabeth Beisel (U.S.)             2:06.18                
 2.  Meagen Nay (Australia)              2:07.42                
 3.  Anastasia Zueva (Russia)            2:07.88                
 4.  Alexianne Castel (France)           2:08.24                
 5.  Elizabeth Simmonds (Britain)        2:08.48                
 6.  Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands) 2:09.50                
 7.  Duane da Rocha (Spain)              2:09.88                
 8.  Simona Baumrtova (Czech Republic)   2:10.18                

 Qualified for Next Round
 1.  Elizabeth Beisel (U.S.)      2 minutes 6.18 seconds 
 2.  Missy Franklin (U.S.)        2:06.84                
 3.  Meagen Nay (Australia)       2:07.42                
 4.  Anastasia Zueva (Russia)     2:07.88                
 5.  Alexianne Castel (France)    2:08.24                
 6.  Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe)   2:08.32                
 7.  Elizabeth Simmonds (Britain) 2:08.48                
 8.  Sinead Russell (Canada)      2:08.76
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