- Published on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 01:14
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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AFTER bowing out of this year’s London Olympic medal search in boxing and swimming disciplines, Tanzania will today try her fortune in athletics competition at the Olympic Stadium.
Athletics, which is the only sport, the country has ever won medal at the Olympic Games, will today see Zakia Mrisho competing in the first round of the 5000-metres women.
Zakia, who has been grouped in heat 2, face stiff competition from other runners namely Burka Gelete, Bleasdale Julia, Hitomi Niiya, Molly Huddle, Kim Conley, Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot, Yelena Nagovitsyna, Joanne Pavey and Elena Romagnolo.
The list also includes Roxana Elisabeta Birca, Nadia Ejjafini, Shitaye Eshete, Layes Abdullayeva, Mika Yoshikawa, Almensh Belete, Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego and Sheila Reid. The 28-year-old Mrisho will run in both 5000 metres and marathon. She boasts requisite experience to realistically contest for medals.
In 2005 she clinched a bronze medal for 3000 metres at World athletics, Monaco. The event was won by two Ethiopians, Meseret Defar and Gelete Burika. Two years ago, Zakia won the Adidas Women 5 kilometres race in Prague beating world champion Gladys Otero by 17 seconds. She also participated in the Beijing 2008 Olympics finishing fourth in 3,000 metres.
Apart from Zakia, other local marathoners who are in London are Tanzania Team captain Samson Ramadhani, Mohamed Msenduki and Faustine Mussa. Samson, 30 years old now, won a gold medal in 2006 Commonwealth games in Melbourne, Australia and his time was 2 hours, 11 minutes and 29 seconds.
The Commonwealth games record is held by Briton Ian Thompson who clocked 2 hours, 09 minutes and 12 seconds in 1974, Christchurch, New Zealand. Although, Samson was 55th in the Olympic Games in China, he won the Beppu-Oita Marathon in Kyushu, Japan in 2003 and Lake Biwa Marathon, Japan in 2007. The other marathoner is a 29-year-old Musa who has already been very active this year.
In April he took part in marathon in Krakow, and a month later in Mannheim Half-marathon (Germany). In 2009 he was also busy by running in Melbourne (10,000 metres), Berlin (10kilometres road run) plus half marathon in Albacete, Spain.
Msenduki is another promising Marathon runner representing the country in the London Games. In 2009, Msenduki won the Buenos Aries Marathon with a superb time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 53 seconds, in Argentina. The three marathon runners hope to forge a formidable triumvirate in a bid to end a 32-year Olympic medal hunger.
1980 was Tanzania's most successful year ever, with Filbert Bayi winning silver in the 3000m steeplechase and Suleiman Nyambui winning silver in the 5,000m. Tanzania suffered early disappointments at the London Olympic Games after swimmer, Ammaar Ghadiyali and the country's sole boxer in the games Selemani Kidunda also made early exit.
Ghadiyali performed poorly after finishing last but one among the 56 -swimmers who competed in the men's 100m freestyle at the Aquatics Centre in London's Olympic Park. Kidunda also made an early exit at the London Olympics after he lost his bout against Vasilii Belous from the Republic of Moldova. He lost the round of 32 bout by 7-20 points.