The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
9 January 2012
Dar es Salaam — As the clock ticks down towards London’s Olympic Games, the chances of Tanzanian athletes to win medals seem to be minimal due to late preparations.
Late preparations has always been the major reason behind the failure of the local athletes in various international tournaments, hence denying themselves chances of winning medals.
Year in year out, local sports fans have witnessed Tanzania exiting early from various international tourneys due to poor perfomance, caused by last minute preparation.
Several local athletes, especially runners who are currently training in Arusha, which the main base for training say that poor preparations has always been the main factor for the failure at major international event.
The athletes, including Dickson Marwa, who also hopes to qualify for the games says that countries like Kenya and Ethiopia will always remain to be medal hopes as they train hard in overseas as they prepare seriously, as a result, they claim dozens of medals.
With seven months before the games start, none of the Tanzanian team have started a serious training.
Very unfortunately, since Tanzania started taking part in the games over a half century ago, the effort made by the local athletes to meet the qualifying standards to compete in the Games have been minimal.
Since Tanzania started participating in the games in 1964, only two athletes , Suleiman Nyambui, who is the Athletics Tanzania (AT) secretary general and Filbert Bayi, who is the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) secretary general.
Nyambui, who is also the Tanzania Olympians Association (TOA) president won a silver medal during the 1980’s games held in Moscow in the men’s 5,000 metres while Bayi won the same medal in the same event for his triumph in men’s 3,000 steeplechase.
Tanzania has in the past been relying on athletics and boxing for her represeantation at the games after other sporting events failing to take part for failure to send athletes in respective qualifying series for lack of funds.
In the previous games took place in Beijing, China, Tanzania participated in the games in athletics and swimming.
But this time, the number of sporting events intending to send their respected athletes to London is set to increase.
After the local boxers missing the Beijing games due to drug trafficking scandal that locked the Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT), they are now focusing for the games as well to retain their lost glory.
Bayi says that Tanzania will only claim her lost glory should the athletes start training early.
“Other countries started training immediately after completion of the 2008’s Beijing Games and that’s how is supposes to be, but ours are always in rush hours”, says Bayi.
Nyambui says that the local athletes were supposed to start training since 2009 but their training programme has been halt by the financial constraints.
A fortnight ago, BFT named boxers who will train for only three weeks before competing in the last African Zone Olympic Games qualifying bouts later this year.
The BFT officials agree that it is obvious that the three weeks are not enough for the boxers to train for such an important meet, but this happens since there are no funds for the assembling of the boxers.
BFT has called for pugilists who form the national team to start off camp training for the 2012 Olympic Games to be staged in London.
BFT secretary general Makore Mashaga said in Dar es Salaam recently that the boxing camp took off after with the national team boxers coming from their residences. This is because there are no funds for them to assemble in residential camp.
He said initially the boxers were required to report for training on December 20 last year but due to unavoidable reasons they started training early this year.
Mashaga said after training for 30 days, the boxers will compete this month to form a 20-man national team.
He said the formed national team will compete in the national championships that will involve all regional boxing teams.
The national championships will be held on 15 February in Dar es Salaam. The boxing’s governing body will use the national championships to form a team that will represent the country in the African qualifying games to be held in Casablanca, Morocco.
Mashaga said only boxers that will qualify after the Morocco games, which will be staged from 27 April to May 6, will go to the 2012 Olympic Games.
On March 22, there will be another bout in Namibia, the last chance for the local boxers to strive for qualifying standards.If they fail again, it simply means that Tanzanian boxers will not compete in the event.
Bayi says that the “late hour training programme” by the athletes is a clear indication that the probability of the them to perform well in London is very minimal.
” I think the associations have learn how to market their sporting events to sponsors for them to prepare the teams early”, says Bayi..
AT and BFT and other associations are crying from financial constraints following a failure to assemble possible athletes for training. According to Nyambui, only one athlete, Zakia Mrisho has so far qualified for the games, following her triumph at this year’s World Championship in Daegu, South Korea.
Athletics and boxing have been major sporting events for Tanzania winning medals at the major events like Olympics and Commonwealth games.
However, other sporting events like Judo and table tennis are also expected to field athletes in the event should they qualify.
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