Let's prepare for Rio 2016

HARARE - The 2016 Rio Olympic Games seem far long away as there is still some two years to go before the competition roars into life.

This is probably the notion in the minds of most administrators running the various Zimbabwe sports organisations that are hoping to have athletes competing in Rio.

As for the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), they have already abandoned the idea of having the Young Warriors competing at this global stage.

Zifa unashamedly declined to enter the national Under 23 side in the qualifiers for these Games citing funding challenges.

In terms of preparations for such a global sporting competition as the Olympics, two years is not much of a time.

This week, Zimbabwe’s most decorated Olympian of all time, swimmer Kirsty Coventry announced that she will be competing in Rio.

Coventry has won a total of seven Olympic medals in an illustrious swimming career that also saw her break numerous records.

In order to fully prepare for the competition she is going to face in Rio, Coventry has decided to shift base to Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States.

In Charlotte, the 30-year-old Zimbabwean will be training under the supervision of swimming coach David Marsh of SwimMac Team Elite.

There is no doubt that Coventry is a world class swimmer and there are not many swimmers out there who have the talent that she has.

Even though she is blessed with an astonishing swimming talent, Coventry has seen the need to begin her preparations for Rio early under a highly specialised training programme.

All Zimbabwean athletes who hope to qualify for Rio need to take a cue from Coventry and begin their preparations early.

Funds may be a challenge for most local athletes and this might affect their preparations but there are many ways to get over this hurdle.

First and foremost, the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (Zoc) has various programmes to help athletes through grants they receive from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

What usually happens is that the athletes and sports bodies leave it until late and approach Zoc at the 11th hour asking for assistance.

The time to start all the necessary arrangements and training programmes is now.

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