London — THE 2012 London Olympic Games reaches its business end tomorrow with Team Zimbabwe set to return home empty-handed after what is likely to be a fruitless campaign at the 16-day world's biggest sporting gala.
After setting themselves high standards of winning a total of seven medals - two golds, four silvers and one bronze - at their last two Olympic Games campaigns in Athens, Greece, in 2004 and Beijing, China, 2008, Team Zimbabwe arrived at the London Games aiming to win at least two more medals at these Games.
But by the start of the day yesterday, and with only three days to go before the curtain finally comes down on the London Games, Zimbabwe were still missing from the Games medal table in which the United States were leading the way with a total of 90 medals -39 gold, 25 silver and 26 bronze.
And the USA were expecting to bag more to bag more medals yesterday, today and on the last day of the Games tomorrow.
By noon yesterday, the 2008 Olympic Games host nation China were lying in second place on the medal table with 80 medals - 37 gold, 24 silver and 19 bronze - while this year's hosts were in third place with 54 medals - 25 gold, 15 silver and 14 bronze.
And while these three countries were expected to harvest more medals between yesterday and tomorrow, it was all gloomy in Team Zimbabwe's camp as they were still taking stock of their failure to pick up any medal at the London Games.
However, Busi Chindove, Team Zimbabwe's chef de mission at the London Games, believes the team has done well at these Games given the little resources that the country has.
"I know that there has been a lot of talk and concern about the size of our team and I too am concerned that the size of our team gets dwindling after each Olympic Games.
"I personally think that we should now be in a position to have a team sport at these Games but it all needs the involvement of all the key stakeholders if we are to achieve this.
"Yes, our team was small but I also think that it is the quality not quantity of the athletes which is important but we still need all the stakeholders to sit down and strategise to see how we can improve our performance at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (in 2016).
"We really need to start looking forward and see how we are going to be represented in Rio.
"We really need the support of everybody, from the Government to the corporate world because if you look at (our neighbours) South Africa, they spent or had a budget of R102 million for the London Games.
"It's a huge amount of money and this shows how serious they are about their sport. So, we also need to work closely together, putting our resources together as we try to build a strong team for future Olympic Games."
Chindove also spoke about the performance of some members of Team Zimbabwe at the London Games.
"As the chef de mission, I've been working with this team and I think the athletes who have already participated at these Games gave it their very best . . . . they went in there with a positive attitude.
"As for Sharon Tavengwa (who failed to last the distance in the women's marathon last Sunday), I think she was very excited about representing Zimbabwe at the Olympic Games and she was not upfront about her injury.
"She was devastated after failing to finish her race. We spoke heart to heart after this race and she told me that she really wanted to perform to her level best.
"But I would like to encourage other athletes that they should be upfront with their injuries because we care about their health above everything else," Chindove said.
Team Zimbabwe's chef de mission said triathlete Chris Felgate, who came 52nd in the men's triathlon event on Tuesday, was also disappointed by his overall performance in this event.
"But if you look at the men's triathlon event, there were 55 athletes and when you look at it in that perspective, Zimbabwe is the top 55 in the world and I think Chris gave it his best although he felt that he should have done better."
Chindove said they were now hoping that the two men's marathon runners, Cuthbert Nyasango and Wirimayi Juwawo, will make their presence felt in tomorrow's last event of the London Games.
"As for the the two men's marathon runners, they are very upbeat. They have been training everyday and I think they will do well on Sunday."
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe have been outshone by two of their Southern African neighbours - South Africa and Botswana - who by the start of the day yesterday had six medals between themselves at the London Olympic Games.
South Africa, who only managed to pick one medal at the previous Games in Beijing, China, in 2008, have done much better this time around, collecting five medals, which include two golds, one silver and one bronze, during the first 13 days of the London Games.
South Africa arrived in London targeting a total of 12 medals and they are, however, likely to come short in meeting this target.
But the surprise packets at the London Games are Zimbabwe's other Southern African neighbours Botswana who had one silver to their name by yesterday.
Botswana's silver medal at the London Games was sensationally won on Thursday evening by teenager Nijel Amos who came second to Kenya's David Rudisha in the men's 800m final.
In fact, Amos became part of the Olympic Games history on Thursday in which he was in the same men's 800m final field with Rudisha who sent tongues wagging after winning this event in a new world record.
The rest of the world watched in awe and astonishment when Rudisha set a new world record in the men's 800m event.