TEAM Zimbabwe at the ongoing Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will return home empty-handed after finding the going tough at the global sporting showpiece.
Zimbabwe had a para-rowing team, competing for the first time at the Paralympics and Laina Sithole represented the country in athletics 100m T13.
The team made up of Margaret Bangajena, Previous Wiri, Michelle Garnett, Takudzwa Gwariro and Jessica Davis (coxswain) took part in the mixed coxed four and they came sixth in 4minutes 08.63seconds in heat one last Friday.
They then took part in final B yesterday for rankings and managed position six again, posting their personal best time of 4minutes 07.56seconds and were ranked 12th overall.
Coach, Rachel Davis, who assembled the team early this year, had just two months to prepare the team for their first regatta held in Italy in April.
The team got a bipartite after competing in that event and had to take part in another competition in Poland, in June as part of their preparations and pre-requisite to compete in Rio. Speaking from Brazil, Davis expressed satisfaction with the way the team represented the country considering the time they have been together. In athletics, Sithole, who was competing in the 100m T13 came fifth on Saturday in heat one with a time of 13.68seconds.
The heat was won by Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova in 11.86seconds, followed by France’s Nantenin Keita in 12.35seconds. Carolina Duarte took third position in 12.53seconds to qualify for the finals held yesterday.
Adzhametova went on to scoop the gold medal in yesterday’s finals. Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee secretary-general, Lewis Garaba said the results from Brazil are an indication that there is need to invest in sport if the country is to challenge for medals at such competitions.
Zimbabwe last won a medal at the Paralympics in 2004 through Elliot Mujaji. The Games began on September 7 and will end this coming Sunday.