The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN golfer, Scott Vincent is excited by his 16th place finish in individual golf at the Tokyo Olympics.
Vincent recovered from a terrible first day at the Kasumigaseki Country Club to finish an impressive 16 out of 60 golfers in his maiden appearance at the Olympics when the golf action concluded on Sunday. Xander Schauffele of the United States of America picked up the gold.
Out of the five Zimbabwean athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, Vincent was the best performer, followed by rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin who was 20th out of 32. Vincent was joint 16th with South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout while another Mzansi golfer, Garrick Higgo was 53rd.
“I would say the overall performance was extremely positive, I had three excellent days, obviously the first day was a very slow start but overall very happy with how it went. Learnt so much, obviously with a lot of room to improve still, which is exciting,’’ said Vincent.
After such an impressive display in Japan, the 29-year old Vincent already has his eyes on the Paris Olympics in 2023. He feels that he did not get off to a good start in Tokyo because he put a lot of pressure on himself.
“The goal is to obviously to come back and play again in Paris in 2024. Day one was obviously tough, that’s to be expected, I was excited as well as nervous going into the first round. I think one of the big lessons from that is I had way too big expectations for myself. I think a lot of that is because I have high expectations and want to be the best I can but I certainly got caught up in letting that become the reason why I play as opposed to just doing what I do,’’ Vincent said.
Despite no fans being allowed, Vincent had support from the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry as well as Zimbabwe Olympic Committee contingent. That support, together with messages from all over the world spurred Vincent on, especially in the last three days.
“We had no fans but the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and some of the staff was able to come out and watch, Kirsty Coventry came out and watched day one and day four so I definitely had a lot of support. I could feel the support even from other parts of the world, we had so many messages, people cheering us on. It was just really cool that we were able to play well in the last three days and really climb ourselves back into a top 20 position which I think is really good for me,’’ he said.
The golfer said he learnt a lot of lessons at the Olympics, the biggest for him being how to deal with high expectations.
“I am going to take a lot from this, I learnt a lot just dealing with high expectations and pressure, it was easily the most pressure I’ve felt in a long time but it was good, I think want to be in those situations more, the more you are in them, the better that you are going to perform. Just the whole experience has been incredible, I can’t wait to have this opportunity again,’’ Vincent said.
The Zimbabwean golfer is taking a two-week break before he continues on the Japanese Tour, with Vincent having a busy schedule until the end of the year.
“We will continue to be in Japan and play on the Japanese Tour, we have two weeks off and then we are busy the rest of the year until Decembers so still lots of golf to play. I am excited the way the game is trending and what we learning and looking forward to applying that into some of the other events coming up,’’ he said.
For Vincent, getting to mix and mingle with the best athletes in the world the Olympics was inspired him to perform at his best.
“The whole experience at the Olympics has been incredible, the coolest part is rubbing shoulders with the best athletes in the world, just watching and admiring the way that they manage themselves as professionals and obviously training and the way that they eat, how strong they all look, just being in this place is very inspiring, it makes you want to work hard and be the best you can.
“I do hope that I can come back to one of these games in the future where it’s not as restricted with Covid-19 and we can get out and see more of the country that we in, just to experience more of the culture,’’ Vincent said.
His desire is to see more Zimbabwean athletes at the next Olympics.