BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Zimbabwean swimming sensation, Kirsty Coventry has hinted that she is not ready to start having children despite getting engaged to her longtime boyfriend last week.
The queen of the pool said she was waiting for her boyfriend Tyrone Seward to pay lobola before they can wed.
Coventry, who turns 29 next month, recently announced her engagement to Seward, her boyfriend of three years.
The couple, who met in Johannesburg through mutual friends, have been travelling together around the world for the past two years with Seward acting as Coventry’s manager.
“Right now we are celebrating our engagement but we have not yet decided about the wedding. Tyrone is currently working on his lobola for my father. He knows that there would be no wedding before paying lobola,” Coventry said with a chuckle.
Seward said he was looking into that.
“Her dad is asking me when I will pay lobola but I am working on that. We will see,” said Seward, who was born and bred in Chinhoyi.
They will have to wait a little longer before they start their own family because Coventry is still committed to the pool despite rumours that she was to retire soon after the just-ended London Olympics.
“I am sure we will have kids but not anytime soon. I am still swimming so there is no way I can have kids now. Besides, I am too young for children,” said Coventry.
With a lot of expectations from a success-starved nation on her shoulders, Coventry came back home without a medal from the London Olympics.
She feels she could have bagged a medal had it not been for a nagging knee injury and a bout of pneumonia.
“I injured my knee in March this year and had pneumonia in May but still went on to compete. I even went for my Olympics trials carrying that knee injury,” she said.
“As an athlete, you always want to be on the podium but that did not happen this time around. I was happy with my performance in London though.”
While many people attributed her medal failure to her age, the seven-time Olympic gold medalist feels it was the injury that was her major drawback.
“Yes I raced against swimmers who had an average age of 18 or 19 but my knee was my major problem and not my age. I was not able to kick in the water when I was injured for six weeks, which is a very long time on the sidelines for an athlete preparing for the Olympics.”
Coventry, who was recently elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission, said she still had a role to play in Zimbabwean sport.
Having lived outside the country for just over a decade, Coventry is contemplating relocating back home for good.
“I still have a very big role to play in Zimbabwean sport, especially in swimming. I want to be heavily involved but I am not yet too sure about the exact role I will be playing.
“We have some extremely talented athletes here in Zimbabwe but we cannot just expect them to go and win medals in major competitions. That is why I want to be involved in supporting athletes.
“I did not make a lot of money with swimming so relocating to Zimbabwe depends on me getting a job first. I will have to make a decision in the next two months while I am still here at home.”