by Cloud Fusire
ZIMBABWE teen swimming sensation Donata Katai will lead a four-member team when they represent the country at the Fina World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates next month.
Katai recently made waves when she became the first black swimmer to represent the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where she recorded a personal best in 100m backstroke after coming first in her heat but missed on the semi-final berth.
There is no doubt the rising swimming star will be desperate to build on that experience when she takes part in the 50m and 100m backstroke in Abu Dhabi.
Katai will be accompanied by Paige Van Der Westhuizen, United States-based Denilson Cyprianos and Liam Davis, who is currently studying in the United Kingdom.
Zimbabwe Swimming Board of Control (ZSBC) chairperson, Tracey Doorman, yesterday expressed satisfaction with the quartet saying preparations are already at an advanced stage at their respect bases.
“We have four swimmers participating at the World Swimming championships namely Donata Katai, Paige Van Der Westhuizen, Denilson Cyprianos and Liam Davis,” said Doorman.
“The locally based athletes who are the two girls Paige and Katai have been a bit hampered by the late start due to lockdown regulations.
“But they are in full training and they should be able to get enough preparation time in before the championships.
“Denilson and Liam, who are studying outside the country, have had more preparatory time. If all the athletes could swim season bests we would be happy.”
Westhuizen is excited to be participating in Abu Dhabi as she juggles between her studies and training.
“I’m excited and proud to represent my country in the World Swimming Championships,” she said.
“Since the team selection was announced I have adapted a very intense training regime focusing specifically on my freestyle events that I will be competing in. Although I have not decided yet on the event I will partake in as you can only do two events but the options are between 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle.
The 15th edition of the competition will take place from December 16-21 next month, with approximately 2 500 athletes from 186 countries taking part.