By Farayi Machamire
Seven-time Olympic medalist Kirsty Coventry was left holding her heart in her hands following a robbery at a jewellery store in Johannesburg, South Africa — a stone’s throw away from where she was having coffee.
Only a month after the city experienced a high stakes heist that saw 13 armed men make off with millions of rand during a robbery at OR Tambo Airport, Hyde Park Corner shopping mall became the latest target of a growing band of daring robbers.
Zimbabwe’s golden girl was enjoying time out at a coffee shop in a shopping centre in Johannesburg when she heard the sound of hair-raising gun shots from a nearby jewellery store.
The audacious robbers are said to have fled the mall with their new found loot.
The shopping centre came to a virtual standstill as dozens of police officers and emergency services arrived at the scene before Kirsty took to social media to alert her 51 000-plus followers.
“Shots erupt in jewellery store robbery behind us whilst having coffee in hype (sic) park mall (Johannesburg). No one injured. Thank God,” she tweeted.
South Africa Police Service confirmed the incident on their official Twitter account.
“#sapsGP #HydeParkRobbery Jewellery shop robbed this morning, one shot was fired, no injuries. Fled scene with stolen jewellery.”
It was not clear at the time of going to print what was taken.
The Hyde Park mall robbery comes barely a month after Zimbabwe’s football wizard Khama Billiat was a caught in the middle of an armed robbery in Johannesburg.
The most recognisable player in the Super Diski later likened the incident to “a scene from a Hollywood action movie.”
The Mamelodi Sundowns forward had visited Engen service station convenience store to buy a pre-paid electricity token and fill up his vehicle when armed men raided the place.
Billiat, together with other shoppers, were not harmed as the robbers took cash and other valuables from the shop.
While the incident sent social media into overdrive with some reports suggesting the Zimbabwean had lost a valuable wrist watch and cash during the robbery, Billiat later revealed that the perpetrators did not lay a hand on him.
As for Zimbabwe swimming icon, who called time on her illustrious career after competing in her fifth Olympic Games for Zimbabwe in Rio at the age of 32, the sport has not forgotten her as she continues to give back through philanthropy work.
Africa’s most decorated Olympian, having won seven medals in swimming, competing in five Games between 2000 and 2016, is still serving in an administrative capacity as vice president of the International Surfing Association.
Kirsty currently runs a swimming academy she established in 2015 which seeks to save lives, to empower individuals and to nurture hopes and dreams, using her profile to raise awareness of the dangers of water and the creation of a drowning prevention programmes.
This came after she had discovered that many lives are lost every year in Zimbabwe through drowning. Daily News