BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The trio of young Zimbabwean swimmers comprising Liam O’Hara, Donata Katai and Paige van der Westhuizen has been invited to take part in the Swimming South Africa’s (SSA) latest leg of the Olympic trials set for Port Elizabeth early next month.
The event will be held between April 7 and 12 in preparation for the looming Tokyo Olympic Games.
O’Hara, Katai and van der Westhuizen will be looking to push for qualification into the Zimbabwe team to participate at the global games later this year.
The event was initially scheduled to take place last year before it was postponed following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
SSA invited Zimbabwe to send a select number of athletes, who meet the required number of Fina points.
“South Africa invited us to send swimmers to these trials and gave us certain criteria based on a number of Fina points swimmers needed to have to be able to attend,” Zim Swimming chairperson Tracy Doorman told The Sports Hub.
“Three swimmers, who met the criteria, were selected by the selectors and will be travelling to the event. These are Liam O’Hara, Donata Katai and Paige van der Westhuizen.
“The trials will be held in Port Elizabeth between 7 and 12 April. All our swimmers and management will be bubbled for the event along with all other swimmers and competition officials. This is to ensure that they are safe from the Covid-19 virus,” Doorman added.
South Africa-based O’Hara has broken a number of national records in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events and finished 35th at the Fina Junior World Championships in 2019.
He narrowly missed a place in the semi-final of the 100m event.
Katai has also been carving her name in backstroke competitions after breaking a number of records while she won gold at the Africa Junior Championships two years ago.
Van der Westhuizen represented Zimbabwe at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships held in Gwangju, South Korea.
She competed in the women’s 100m freestyle and women’s 200m freestyle events.
Fina points are a set of standards for each event and each distance-based on the time swum. They are created by the international swimming federation as a way of ranking swimmers.