Garan’anga’s Olympic Dream Hangs By a Thread

Garan’anga’s world ranking of 649 does not qualify him to play at the global sports festival but Tennis Zimbabwe had earlier applied to the ITF through the Confederation of African Tennis for him to be considered for wildcard entry on the basis that he is at the moment Africa’s top tennis player.

But Tennis Zimbabwe administrator Cliff Nhokwara has revealed that the ITF has instead asked Zimbabwe as a country to first confirm in writing that they want to take part in the Olympic Games before they can talk of Garan’anga’s application.

‘We have sent the application for our participation at the Olympics and we have now been asked to apply again for Takanyi to be considered for wildcard entry which we are doing at the moment,” says Nhokwara.

Nhokwara revealed that they will only have a clear idea whether Garan’anga will be allowed to take part at the Olympics in June when a decision on the other participants is made.

Only the top 50 tennis players according to the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings have automatic entry at the Olympic Games.

The ITF, however, have places for other players who do not meet the qualifying criteria but can be considered after looking at the circumstances involved.

Garan’anga won a gold medal at the All Africa Games which were held in Mozambique in September in 2011 and Nhokwara said it is on that basis that they are hoping the International Tennis Federation will consider Garan’anga’s participation at the London Olympic Games.

Unlike the first letter which they sent to the ITF through the Confederation of African Tennis this time the application will be sent directly by Tennis Zimbabwe to the ITF.

Garan’anga who is based in the United States of America returned to Zimbabwe in November last year for the Annual National Sports Awards and took part in the Zimbabwe Open which was taking place during the same time and won the tournament by beating veteran Genius Chidzikwe in straight sets.

Zimbabwe is selecting their team for the Olympic Games and so far five athletes including swimmer Kirsty Coventry have been picked to represent the country. Coventry has won seven of the eight medals that Zimbabwe has won since their admission to international sport in 1980.

The other medal was won by the women’s hockey team at the 1980 Moscow Games which were boycotted by a number of countries.

Garan’anga is the only player Tennis Zimbabwe wants to send to the Olympics.

The Olympic Games are running from July 27 to August 12.