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Donata Katai is First Black Swimmer to Characterize Zimbabwe in Olympic Video games

Donata Katai is seen after a swimming practice session in Harare, Zimbabwe

Donata Katai is seen after a swimming apply session in Harare, Zimbabwe
Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi (AP)

A 17-year-old woman is making historical past by changing into the primary Black swimmer to characterize Zimbabwe within the Olympics. If you happen to’re amazed that it took till 2021 for that to occur, belief me, you’re not alone.

In response to the Related Press, Donata Katai gained gold medals in each the 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke within the 2019 African Junior Championships in Tunisia. Along with taking gold medals, Katai additionally broke the youth information of two-time Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry on her technique to the Olympics. Coventry is Zimbabwe’s most adorned Olympian, and like most swimmers who’ve represented the nation, she’s white.

General, swimming hasn’t been essentially the most various Olympic sport. American swimmer Simone Manuel, a Black girl, gained the gold medal within the 100-meter freestyle through the 2016 Olympic video games. Her victory started a dialog on the shortage of range within the sport. On a worldwide scale, that appears to be steadily altering as Nice Britain will even see 24-year-old Alice Dearing develop into the primary Black girl to characterize the nation within the video games. (If the Olympics might get it collectively relating to inclusive swim gear, we’d truly be getting someplace.)

Katai’s accomplishment is putting as a result of she comes from a rustic that’s 99 % Black, but has by no means had a Black swimmer characterize them within the Olympic video games. In talking with AP Information, Katai appears to have hope that may change in coming years.

“I really feel like we swim in very totally different environments as a result of in America there usually are not many individuals of colour that swim. In Zimbabwe, the vast majority of folks that swim in the intervening time are folks of colour. I suppose her (Manuel’s) story could be very totally different from mine,” Katai instructed AP. “There’s lots of people of colour that participate within the sport. It’s sort of changing into regular for me in Zimbabwe.”

Katai comes from a middle-class background and has been swimming competitively since she was 6 years previous. By the age of 8, her expertise had already attracted the curiosity of a few of the nation’s high swimming coaches. Her present coach, Kathy Lobb, praised her expertise and instructed AP that Katai going to the Olympics can be a dream come true for her.

“One of the best I’ve achieved is world champs and African Video games. So for me that is the final word,” Lobb instructed AP. “It’s each coach’s dream to have a swimmer coming by means of and taking them to the Olympics.”

After a 12 months’s delay, Katai is worked up to lastly be capable of show her skills on the world stage. “I feel it’s (the Olympics) going to be like type of a film. It’s going to be unreal. Being round lots of people I watch on TV, look as much as in a approach, then be proper there in entrance of me, with the ability to watch them,” Katai instructed AP Information.

“I feel it’s going to be an unreal expertise for me, however positively one I’m wanting ahead to,” she added.


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