Certainly, news that IAAF is ready to bring the ‘World to Tanzania through athletics’ with top athletes competing in the global championships is of great value for the continent and a country that is seeking to revive her fast diminishing athletics standard.
The nine-day athletics showpiece lays claim to being the third biggest sporting event on the planet behind the World Cup and Olympic Games, but the global athletics meet requires significantly less investment in infrastructure for the host nation compared to the other two.
While a successful Olympic bid, such as London 2012, requires a large stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies alone, a world championships can be run on a smaller scale. With this fact in mind, the former world 1,500 metres record holder, Englishman Sebastian Coe, is determined to campaign for Africa and Tanzania in particular, for it to host World Athletics Championships in the coming ten years.
Coe, the Vice-Chairman of IAAF, was in the country for one-day official visit, aiming at promoting London 2012’s International Inspiration programme, ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in London. The former double Olympics gold medal winner, who also broke Tanzanian Filbert Bayi’s 1500m world record was left overwhelmed by the magnificent and imposing National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, saying the venue has what it takes to hosting major world events.
He said the stadium that has met all requirements to host the event as big as world championships in athletics will need global recognition but warned that the country must also plan to improve other infrastructures in the city that will cope with the influx of people if it is to be successful in any such bid. We certainly concur with Coe and we feel that it is important to bring events of such magnitude to Africa in the next ten years because this will be a way of inspiring young people in the continent to engage themselves in sports.
Coe’s opinion could come as a surprise and has definitely caught Athletics Tanzania (AT) officials pants down. The AT has never thought about thinking to place any bid to stage the world championships and Coe’s suggestion is timely and could be a wake up call for both AT and the government to consider placing a bid in the near future.