Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is among 207 countries that have confirmed to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics, scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
Apart from athletics, the country is planning to compete in swimming, long tennis, weight lifting, judokas and amateur boxing.
These games will mark the return of the Summer Olympics to Tokyo since 1964, and the fourth Olympics overall to be held in Japan, following the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
They will be the second of three consecutive Olympic Games to be held in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and preceding the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
The event will feature a total of 11,091 athletes who will compete in 339 events in 33 sports (50 disciplines).
As it is now about one and ahalf yearsbefore the Games commence, Tanzania is yet to have strong training camps that will be used to pick athletes for various qualifying events.
Athletics Tanzania (AT) has set up training camps in Manyara and Arusha regions. Other runners are now in Nagai, Japan preparing for the Olympics Games qualifications,
In swimming, there is also some seriousness due to the fact that Hilal Hilal is currently in Dubai in the world swimming federation (Fina) sponsored camp while other swimmers, including Dennis Mhini, Sonia Tumiotto and Collins Saliboko are currently undergoing training and studying in the United Kingdom (UK) at St Felix School.
Apart from the two sports which have shown some commitment ahead of the Games, others are still silent and there is nothing going on including searching for qualification marks ahead of the global multi-sport event. Bodies governing some sports have not given their qualification programmes ahead of the Tokyo Games as they just depend on universalities for their athletes.
Most countries started preparations immediately after the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. The countries have been busy selecting athletes who will compete in various competitions in search for the requisite qualifications before the Games.
This is different from the case of Tanzania’s athletes and sports bodies, which mostly depend on the government support in order to go for the qualification seeking competitions.
Amateur boxing stakeholders, a game whose leadership was elected recently, need to restore the status of the game, which in the past earned the country honours. The country’s participation in international competitions has been dormant for many years.
The game experienced a sharp drop due to mismanagement and abuse that led to the country being banned from participating in international competitions. Accusations included boxers being used in drug trafficking scandals. By the time the ban was lifted, the country had lost its glory.
However, amateur boxers are now at the crossroads following the suspension made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to their International Boxing Association (AIBA).
TANZANIA OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (TOC)
TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi expressed his shock over poor preparations being made by sports bodies, with a number of them having failed to submit their tentative programmes ahead of the Games.
Bayi revealed that only a few associations had submitted their qualification programmes for athletes as well as budgets, but even those that did so failed to defend what they had submitted.
“We met with all sports associations in a meeting that was attended by the National Sports Council (NSC) and director of Sports Development. We called them to meet TOC vice president Henry Tandau and assistant secretary general Suleiman Jabir. Some of the associations failed to do so. Some said they needed a budget of around Sh600 million. But, when questioned, they failed to defend the budgets. Several failed to submit any documents. How can we attain sports development under such circumstances?” asked Bayi.
He explained that most of the sports leaders were not ready to be advised despite the fact that TOC had appointed Tandau and Jabir to supervise the exercise. “No one showed up, how can you force them to do that? That’s why we request members to elect capable leaders to lead their associations,” said Bayi.
He said it was already too late for them to submit their programmes and budgets as IOC had already closed the door. Bayi said with the exception of runners, other athletes were facing tough moments to secure the qualifications marks when compared with other countries in the world.
“We have the best runners in the country. Some of them won’t find it hard to secure the qualification time. I hope we can get athletes for that. I cannot guarantee other sports, may be they can feature in the game through universality places,” he said.