Tennis Star Turned Down For Olympics

Tennis Zimbabwe administrator, Cliff Nhokwara, said tennis wildcard entries were finally approved on June 14 and Garanganga was not considered for participation at the global sports festival.

‘Wildcard entries were determined on June 14 and Garanganga was not among those considered,’ said Nhokwara.

Nhokwara said the international tennis federation felt Garanganga’s current standing in international tennis did not qualify him for a wildcard entry at an event that attracts the best sportspersons from across the globe.

Garanganga is only ranked 584 in the world and ninth in Africa but it is on the strength of the gold medal he won at the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique in September that had forced Tennis Zimbabwe to apply for the special dispensation.

That, however, will not be the case but Zimbabwean tennis will still be represented at the Olympic Games by wheelchair tennis player Nyasha Mharakurwa who has been accorded the chance through the Bipartite Commission slot.

Cara Black who represented Zimbabwe at the 2000 Games in Sydney, the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing has not been invited by the ITF to take part in this year’s competition.

Only the top 50 players according to the Association of Tennis Professional Tour rankings have direct entry at the Olympic Games.

Seven Zimbabwean athletes, swimmer Kirsty Coventry, track and field athletes Ngonidzashe Makusha,Cutbert Nyasango, and Sharon Tawengwa, triathlete Chris Felgate, as well as rowers Jamier Fraser-McKenzie and Micheen Thorncroft have qualified automatically while paralympian Elliot Mujaji has received a wildcard entry from the International Paralympic Committee.

Although Zimbabwe are sending a small team to the Olympics, Zimbabwe Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Anna Mguni believes in this team, gold medals will come rolling.

Zimbabwe has since admission to international sport in 1980 won eight Olympic medals, seven of them by Coventry. The other medal, which was gold, was won by the women’s hockey team at the 1980 Games in Moscow.

The 2012 Olympic Games will run in London from July 27 to August 12.