Zimbabwe is making its first appearance at an Olympic qualifying event in Italy –rowing.This hastily put together team is flying out on Monday to Italy where they will be the only team from Africa.Rachel Davis, team coach said : “This team are forging the way forward not just for Zimbabwe, but for Africa. There is so much potential in this country that it is unbelievable.
”The story of Chipo, Maragret, Jessica, Previous and Takudzwa is not about glory
and prestige but rather one of bravery, community and insurmountable odds. If you have watched the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ then you will understand this team.Rachel put the team together a month ago at the request of the International Rowing Committee who were looking to increase African representation at the Rio games.
She put the word out and Chipo Zhento, Maragret Bangalena, Jessica Davis,Previous Wiri and Takudzwa Gwariro came together to form Zimbabwe’s wildcard team. 3 of the 5 team members only learnt to swim two weeks ago.They have been training in what Rachel describes as ‘antiquated equipment’ and they were kindly donated secondhand wet suits. Next week they will be representing Zimbabwe in an Olympic qualification event. Yes they will probably not
win, or even come close to getting a podium finish but they may stand a chance at winning a wild card spot to the 2016 Rio Olympics later this year.The individual bravery and willingness to try against all odds is reason enough for
Zimbabweans to get behind this team. This team embodies the true meaning of ambition and tenacity and above all, hope.