(SATSports) – Teenage Zimbabwean swimmer Donata Katai on Sunday attracted widespread praise from her country after she finished first in her 100 meter backstroke heat in the Aquatics Center in Tokyo.
The 17-year-old posted a personal best time of 1:02:73, earning her s slot in the semifinals of the competition.
Taking to the pool in Lane 5, she beat India’s Maana Patel came second (1:05:20) and Ince Kimberely of Grenada third (1:10:24).
Katai is Zimbabwe’s first ever black Olympian swimmer.
The young swimmer was hoping to emulate her country mate and Africa’s most successful Olympian, Kirsty Coventry, who currently serves as Zimbabwe’s minister of sports.
Coventry participated in five Olympic games between 2000 and 2016, and managed to win seven medals, including two gold medals.
Katai’s performance on Sunday sparked a flurry of congratulatory messages from Zimbabweans who hope she can go all the way and clinch a medal.