FILBERT Bayi has broken ice on why Tanzania had sent only three athletes in the just concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, point-blank saying Tanzania did not invest enough for the Games.
Bayi, the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) Secretary-General and legendary athlete, insisted that there is no shortcut to success, saying that success in the Olympics requires nothing more than massive investments and dedication.
Tanzania had sent only three athletes Alphonce Simbu, Failuna Abdi Matanga and Gabriel Geay, for the quadrennial event, and once again, the country finished the campaign medalless.
Despite not winning a medal, Simbu made it into the top ten by finishing seventh in the 42 km full marathon, while Geay did not finish the race.
On the women’s side, Matanga completed in 24th place. Reacting, Bayi said the three athletes deserve kudos because they did not undergo adequate preparations for the Games but still managed to meet the qualification standard and competed to the best of their capabilities.
The Athletics Tanzania (AT) Secretary- General, Jackson Ndaweka, applauded Tanzanian representatives in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, asserting that they did well and deserved praise for their performance.
“I congratulate our three marathoners for qualifying and representing Tanzania well in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic. Congratulations to Simbu for finishing seventh, Matanga finishing 24th and Gabriel though he did not finish the race.
He further explained that several challenges could have caused Gabriel’s not to finish the marathon, changes of the weather being among them; out of 106 marathoners who participated in the race, only 76 completed; thus, 30 did not complete.
Regarding the next Olympic Games in 2024, Ndaweka noted that they would begin preparations, and it will begin with various competitions that take place before the Olympic Games, such as the World Championship, Commonwealth Games.
The essence of putting more effort into those games is to get more qualified marathoners who will represent our country well. “We need to increase the number of marathoners to increase chances to win a medal.
This year’s hindrance for the qualifiers was Covid-19 outbreak, where many Olympic qualification competitions were postponed, but after this challenge, we will look for alternative ways to make sure we get more marathoners for 2024 Olympics.”
Ndaweka has also encouraged other sports associations such as boxing to increase efforts to get a variety of representatives from other sports disciplines to increase competition and Tanzania’s chances of winning medals at the Olympic Games.
Despite the officials’ opinions, Anthony Ruta, a veteran boxer, said that Tanzania had collapsed in sports after the government abolished sports in schools years ago.
But restoring sports in schools is part of reviving new champions who will restore sports pride at future Olympics, but only if the government and sports stakeholders are encouraged to support it.