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Minister: Local athletes need public support

The minister, who made the call when officially opening the national athletics championship at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, said all Tanzanians have responsibility for changing the country’s fortune in sports. She said it has been a tendency among majority of sports lovers in the country to shy away during preparations stages but come first in pointing accusing fingers when the teams fail to deliver in various international competitions.

“We should join hands in the preparation stages to ensure that the teams are prepared to win instead of waiting for them to perform poorly so that we can complain,” the minister said. She was optimistic that the local national sides have capacity to win medals with proper and timely preparations.

Mukangara called for the immediate preparation of the national teams for the next year’s Commonwealth Games, 2015 All Africa Games and 2016 Olympics. The minister’s sentiments were also shared by the Athletics Tanzania (AT) Chairman, Anthony Mtaki who said the association needs support now for the revival of the once popular sport in the country. He said Tanzanians should learn from neighbour Kenya, who of late are a dominant force in athletics, citing their success to support they get from institutions, parastatals and stakeholders.

Mtaki also challenged the media to divert its focus from soccer and instead support the development of other sports as well. “It is high time for institutions and various companies to invest in athletics as they will not regret. By so doing they will also be part of the sports development and Tanzania will be where it was before -- among the giants in the region,” he said.

The three-day event which started on Friday, on Saturday witnessed Sara Majar win the women’s 800 metres race to scoop a goal medal after clocking (2:13:15.), Angelina Sewe won silver medal as she clocked 2:13:78 while Mazaili Dolich won bronze, clocking 2:16:84. The men’s 800 metres event was won by Basil John who clocked 1:50:77, while Dotto Ikangaa 1:51:86 and Lozee Lotich from Mwanza whose time was 2:13:15 finished in second and third positions respectively.

In discus, Zanzibar scooped all three medals in the men’s pool through Juma Saburi, Tatu Sadam and Fatuma Khamisi while in the men’s discipline they also won gold and silver medal thanks to Ali Seif Juma and Maulidi Denis while Bakari Makono from Tanga settled for bronze medal. Teams from Mainland and Isles regions with an exception of Kagera, Mtwara, Iringa, Kigoma, Rukwa, Katavi and Geita participated in the event at the National Stadium.

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