The London Games will run from July 27 to August 12, this year, and Athletics Tanzania's preparations for the world's biggest sporting showcase are yet on course with only Zakia Mrisho having already qualified. There is no hope for others participating in qualifying competitions.
Athletics Tanzania (AT) admitted that standards was a major setback and they seem to have no concrete answers on what will become the country’s fate in future. It is sad that they (AT) hardly have plans to revitalize the once dominant sport in the country.
AT while crucially regarded as vital to bring smiles back to the country’s lost glory in sports sector, has in recent years experienced the stigma of a step-child at best and the lukewarm decisions over the almost invisible ‘strategic development planning.’
The indecisive attitude towards the country’s most successful sport speaks volume as to the importance athletics is given. AT Secretary General, Suleiman Nyambui, acknowledged last week that they have so far failed to move in preparations for the games because they lack funds to send athletes in qualifying competitions, mostly in Europe.
There were further disturbing remarks by Nyambui, who revealed that these days Tanzania hardly, gets invitation for its athletes to compete in various events because local runners’ standards have hit record low. Nyambui, who won one of the only two medals that the country ever attained in Olympics in 1980 Moscow Games, does not see the country winning any medal in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
He suggested that a national strategy be put in place for the country to send a bigger team to 2020 Olympic Games for it to harvest medals. Again, lack of seriousness in athletics management despite the sport’s potential, has been the major setback in Tanzania. Three years ago Nyambui hinted AT will come up with development strategy but nothing happened to date.
Planning always goes with short and long term goals that are implemented through periodic schedules assessment of performance. But this requires a serious calendar of annual competitions that the AT has never produced. It is high time AT understood that poor organization will get this country nowhere in the athletics scene. The association must change its tactics if it is at all interested in revamping the sport in the country.