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Zimbabwe Olympic Athletes Receive Cash Awards

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whose country is facing economic collapse, has given Olympic champion swimmer Kirsty Coventry $100,000 for winning gold and silver medals in the Beijing Olympics.

Mr. Mugabe on Friday called Coventry a "daughter of Zimbabwe" and said she had done well in representing her country. Coventry won the gold medal and set a world record in the women's 200-meters backstroke in Beijing. She also earned three silver medals in the pool.

The Zimbabwean president also handed out cash awards between $2,000 and $10,000 to other Zimbabwean Olympic team members.

The awards were in U.S. dollars and were carried in a brief case by Zimbabwe's Central Bank governor. The Southern African nation has been struggling with 11 million percent inflation, a shortage of foreign currency, 80 percent unemployment and an exodus of its citizens.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.