Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
NEWLY-APPOINTED Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, says she is honoured to be part of the new Cabinet sworn in by President Mnangagwa yesterday at State House.
The seven-time Olympic medallist takes over from Kazembe Kazembe, who is now the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services.
“I am extremely honoured to be included in the cabinet and in the ministry. So it’s a huge honour.
“It’s another way in which I can work for my country, it’s another way in which I can help uplift our country and, hopefully, bring many more athletes with me.
“It’s very exciting. I think I am definitely looking forward to the opportunities and even the challenges that lie ahead,” said Coventry.
She said for the next couple of weeks she will be reaching out to various stakeholders and advisors to hear what’s happening on the ground, so that they make informed decisions going forward.
Coventry has been part of the International Olympic Committee for the past six years and currently chairs the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
“I think that’s part of what I think is exciting. I have been learning and I have been a part of the International Olympic Committee for the last six years now.
“So I have been learning a lot about administration.
“I have only been retired for two years, I still consider myself a little bit of an athlete. But all of those things will help guide me in this next position.
“I think the biggest thing is that there will be a good team. I have always managed even in my sporting career to ensure that I had the best team possible that could allow me to do anything and everything that I wanted and that will not change.
“I will be assembling a great team here.
“I have a great team already within the International Olympic Committee. I have dedicated staff to the Athletes’ Commission and to myself in Lausanne. So, now, it’s about setting up the same sort of team and environment,” said Coventry.
She was last year elected one of the two Zimbabwe Olympic Committee vice-presidents.
As she assumes her new post, Coventry said there shouldn’t be conflict of interest regarding her position at the IOC but is still waiting for feedback from her advisors.
“I have to obviously get feedback from some of my advisors and that will be done in the next few weeks.
“As I am aware, with the International Olympic Committee, there really shouldn’t be any sort of conflict.
“Actually, I believe from what I have been told, part of the reason I was appointed to this post was because of those relationships like sitting on the International Olympic Committee.
“Again, I think it all comes down to the team that I am allowed to put into place and how they can support me in achieving the goals that we want to here,” said Coventry.
Coventry’s husband Tyrone Seward and her parents also attended the swearing-in ceremony.